[linux-elitists] MTA roundup

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Mon Apr 29 10:39:28 PDT 2002

Quoting Marc MERLIN (marc@merlins.org):

> al?ter?na?tive   Pronunciation Key  (?l-t?rn-tv, l-)
> n.
>    1.
>          1. The choice between two mutually exclusive possibilities.
>          2. A situation presenting such a choice.
>          3. Either of these possibilities. See Synonyms at choice.
>    2. One of a number of things from which one must be chosen.
> No mention of "X is an alternative to Y" meaning "X came after Y".
> Again, thanks for playing.

Marc, dictionaries are always useful, but sometimes short-change one's
self on words' _connotations_[1].  And Nick has a good point about the spin
applied, often unconsciously, through use of the term "alternative".

In English, the terms tends to be applied as subtle put-down, to connote
something indulged in by peculiar, marginal people.

Choice of words and their connotations can make a huge difference in
public perceptions.  (Compare "piracy" versus "unlicensed copying" or

[1] What a word "denotes" is its strict meaning.  In contrast, what it
"connotes" is the implied and associated meanings -- which sometimes
overshadow the denotations.

Cheers,                                      "Reality is not optional."
Rick Moen                                             -- Thomas Sowell

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