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Terminology questions

From: Stephen Berman
Subject: Terminology questions
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2013 20:30:56 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

I noticed that Paul Eggert corrected, in revno 113232, a number of
spelling errors and miswordings by me in todo-mode.el (thanks, and sorry
for not being more careful).  However, I'm not sure about two changes in

One case is from a doc string where I wrote: "You can persistantly [sic]
change the order of the category at point...."  Instead of correcting
the spelling Paul replaced the word: "You can permanently change the
order of the category at point...."  What I intended to get across is
that the change can persist beyond the current session, but not that it
is permanent, i.e., can only be changed once and for all.  "Permanently"
seems to suggest the latter, but maybe it's clear enough from the
context.  I guess "persistently" most commonly suggests repetition or
insistence, neither of which is appropriate here, but I was thinking the
adverb use can also just imply "long-lasting", like the adjective
"persistent" can.  Anyway, if people think "persistently" is wrong here,
and "permanently" doesn't lead to the expectation that only one change
is possible, then the latter is fine with me.

The other case involves two places where I wrote "cross-categorial",
which Paul changed to "cross-category": "And you can build
cross-categorial lists of items that satisfy various criteria." "Display
a cross-categorial list of items filtered by FILTER."  I'm familiar with
the term "cross-categorial" from linguistics, where AFAIK it is
frequently used; but I was till now unaware of "cross-category", and it
sounds strange to me.  I googled both and to my surprise,
"cross-category" has almost 20 times as many hits as "cross-categorial",
and the uses of the latter do seem to be largely confined to
linguistics, while most uses of "cross-category" seem to come from
economics and market analysis (which I guess explains the web search
statistics; though I did see other uses of it, including one from a
linguistics paper;).  I also checked Google Scholar and here, too,
"cross-category" predominates, though the ratio is less than 4:1.  Since
I'm also writing a Texinfo manual for Todo mode, which will use one of
these terms, I'd like to use the one that is most appropriate.  If
there's no consensus here, I'd prefer to use "cross-categorial", but if
most people think "cross-category" is better, I'll defer to the

Steve Berman

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