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post #4 of Old 07-17-2012
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Re: nautical language rant

Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
I just can't stand it any longer! (no, this is not a goodbye thread, sorry- besides no one would care if I left) . I have put up with "births" instead of "berths" for 20 years on various forums and before that , bulletin boards, but I just can't do it any more!. Latest statistics ( I checked ) suggest that very few people have babies on boats, but if by some mischance they did, it would be in a 'berth".
These are all examples taken from just the previous day on Sailnet. Am I being too picky, and we should just ignore these 'mistakes'? (which are repeated ad infinitum in these and other such places. Or should we point out proper nautical usage to preserve our beautiful and meaningful words.
I wonder how much nautical 'yelling' and tears involves this lack of understanding the terminology. I don't know how many times I have been peaceably anchored, with a chesapeake squall on the way. Up comes a very large, new looking boat, with the helmsman screaming over the thunderstorm to the crewperson "wrap the rope around the little thingy on the front" , followed by a loud dialog about which thingy, tie what?, where? , fending him off, etc. If he could just say" cleat the anchor rode" and the crew understand him, things would be different. (admittedly, if you thought "road" instead of "rode", the result, in this case, would be the same.
Part of the problem in the forum may be a reliance on spell check, which (to use your example) sees "birth" as a correct spelling. So, if I'm typing as fast as I can to be the next to respond to a particular post, I may not catch it.

I hear you about the spelling, while I'm not perfect, it's obvious that some people either just don't care or spelling is just not their forte. But, *shrug*, I'm not going to lose sleep over it and they probably aren't, either. I had my rant about it last year and I've moved on. In reality, I'm the mathematical equivalent so who am I to throw stones?

Originally Posted by jsnaulty View Post
I posit that there would be much less miscommunication, tears, angry silences, and other anger manifestations that you know have to eventually apologize for if you and your spouse or crew could use and understand the proper terms. If you know the proper terminology, use it and explain it to others on your boat. If you don't know it, learn it! I don't think nautical terminology exists to make us elitists or to sound important and nautical to landlubbers, but to facilitate clear discussion and action.
Posit away. "Learn nautical-speak or stay the hell off my boat" probably won't work so well to encourage people to learn it, either.


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