17.046 nesting

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Sun Jun 01 2003 - 12:52:55 EDT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 46.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

       [1] From: Patrick Sahle <sahle@uni-koeln.de> (37)
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

       [2] From: Clifford Wulfman <cwulfman@perseus.tufts.edu> (7)
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

       [3] From: Robin Smith <rasmith@aristotle.tamu.edu> (3)
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

       [4] From: John Unsworth <jmu2m@virginia.edu> (2)
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

       [5] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (67)
             Subject: nesting

             Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:43:59 +0100
             From: Patrick Sahle <sahle@uni-koeln.de>
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

    As regards the acronyms: there are not only 'nested' but also 'recursive'
    (which is then a special sort of nesting) acronyms like "GNU's Not Unix"
    where the G stands for "GNU's Not UNIX" ...

    Patrick Sahle

    At 10:55 30.05.03 +0100, you wrote:
    > Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 45.
    > Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
    > www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
    > Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu
    > Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 10:52:44 +0100
    > From: lhomich <lhomich@ualberta.ca>
    > >
    >The topic of nesting prompts me to wonder about 'nested' acronyms. "SAX,"
    >for instance, is a 2-level acronym: SAX = Simple API (Application
    >Programming Interface) for XML (eXtensible Markup Language). I'm sure there
    >are acronyms with more levels of 'nesting,' but I can't think of any off
    >the top of my head. I'd be naive to expect such nested acronyms (NAs?
    >NeAcs?) to be the exclusive domain of computing; can other areas claim such
    >clarification/obfuscation? How deep do they go?
    >Eric Homich
    >M.A. Student, Humanities Computing / English
    >University of Alberta
    Universitt zu Kln
    Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Informationsverarbeitung
    Kerpener Str. 30
    50923 Koeln

    Privat: Blankenheimer Strasse 19
    50937 Kln
    0049 - (0)221 - 2805695

             Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:45:05 +0100
             From: Clifford Wulfman <cwulfman@perseus.tufts.edu>
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

    Eric might be interested to know that there's quite a tradition of
    "recursive acronyms" in the naming of software: names that are acronyms,
    one of whose letters refers to the name. The GNU project is an exmple: GNU
    stands for "GNU's Not Unix"). The name of the popular email reader PINE
    ("Pine Is Nearly Elm" and "Pine Is No-longer Elm") is another; see Laurence
    Lundblade's discussion of the etymology at
    <http://www.island-resort.com/pine.htm>). I don't recall whether or not ELM
    is an acronym; if it is, then PINE would be both recursive and "nested."

             Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:47:46 +0100
             From: Robin Smith <rasmith@aristotle.tamu.edu>
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

    This is still within the computing world, but surely you're familiar with
    the ultimate form of nesting: recursive acronyms. The classic example
    is `GNU' (= `GNU's Not Unix').

    Robin Smith

             Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:48:30 +0100
             From: John Unsworth <jmu2m@virginia.edu>
             Subject: Re: 17.045 nesting

    MOO = MUD, Object-Oriented
    MUD = Multi-User Dungeon


             Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:49:31 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: nesting

    [On behalf of Jan Christoph Meister -- WM]


    (Willard tells me he never received this message which I originally
    posted on 22 May. In case it turns out as a double posting please
    accept my apologies.)

    I think one can better the count for maximum nesting on the basis of
    the evidence which Willard pointed out: Yes, there are about 7 or 8
    levels in the FILM version of Jan Count Potocki's 'Saragossa
    Manuscript'. But -

    - oh my, Wojciech Has's movie... I sat in a Hamburg cinema in the late
    1970s, if I recall correctly, watching it. There was a guy in a
    seriously altered state of mind sitting next to me (quite a number of
    people were >)who, after
    we had jointly, pardon the pun, descended to the 5th level exclaimed:
    "I'm going crazy!" -

    Whis goes to serve that one should avoid reading literature, because:
    5 or 7 or 8 levels is still peanuts. In the original narrative (I
    mean, in the BOOK) Potocki's story is actually nested somewhere in the
    region of 11 or 12 levels deep. Not everybody can handle that sort of
    thing. Neither could the author: legend has it that Potocki shot
    himself with a bullet which he had manufactured over the course of a
    couple of years. Whenever the count was depressed - those long winter
    nights in Poland can get to you - he spent the evening filing away at
    the knob on top of a little silver sugar pot. Until one night it was,
    well, perfectly round.

    Anyway: though I love Potocki's story (the one he told; mind you the one
    about him has its merits too) it is a game which narrators can in
    theory keep on playing infinitely. As a narratologist I think
    the trick only becomes really interesting when, on top of nesting the
    ontological domains of narrator/narrated, the narrator arranges for
    the transgression across domain boundaries. Cortazar's 'Park without
    End' (in short: the story of a guy reading a book in which he watches
    another person going through a park to a house in which he then
    watches someone reading a book, approaches the reader from behind, and
    then ... b.t.w.: are you the only person reading this e-mail on this
    very screen right now?) Personally, I prefer Borges' 'Aleph': the
    story of someone finding a particular spot under a staircase - the
    'aleph' from which he can see everything at the same time, including
    himself seeing everything etc. etc.. Escher comes to mind.

    Anyway 2: Gerard Genette's defines this type of structure as
    a case of 'metalepsis'. As far as I know Marie-Laure Ryan was the
    first to address this particular variant of the aesthetic problem of
    embedding from a computational perspective, interpreting it in terms
    of infinite recursion as it occurs in a badly written program (the
    proverbial 'loop' - but let me quickly read Patricia Galloway's
    article which probably already discusses the problem from the
    same angle.)

    Which brings me, I hope, back to Wendell's initial
    point: is anybody aware of a true example for metaleptical embedding in a=
    of ORAL tradition? And Wendell: what exactly is it that interests you
    in the phenomenon?



    Jan Christoph Meister
    Forschergruppe Narratologie
    Universit=E4t Hamburg

    NarrNet - the Information hub for Narratologists:
    My site: www.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/JC.Meister
    Mail: jan-c-meister@uni-hamburg.de
    Office: +49 - 40 - 42838 4994
    Cell: +49 - 0172 40 865

    Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
    Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
    7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

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