Summary: strong/weak typing and pointers

Jeff Shannon jeff at
Thu Nov 11 21:02:19 CET 2004

Carl Banks wrote:

>Jeff Shannon <jeff at> wrote in message news:<10p52ccen1ql956 at>...
>>On the other hand, I personally think that "rigid/fluid" make a better 
>>metaphor specifically *because* they are not tied so much to physical 
>Just to nitpick: something with a vague meaning really isn't a
>metaphor so much as a literal description in a different sense of the

 From, "metaphor" is:

*1* *:* a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting 
one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a 
likeness or analogy between them (as in /drowning in money/); /broadly/ 
*:* figurative language -- compare SIMILE 

Please note that the use of the phrase "rigid guidelines" is indeed 
figurative language.  One is figuratively likening the strict adherence 
to a set of rules to the physical property of inflexibility. 

I also disagree with your assertion that rigid has a vague meaning.  It 
has a *very* specific meaning, and that meaning is "lacking flexibility" 
(again from -- "*1 a* *:* deficient in or devoid of 
flexibility").  And for the record, "solid" has more alternative 
definitions in said dictionary than "rigid" does.

>If you don't like how the word solid is tied to material properties,
>then it seems to me that your real problem with it is that you just
>don't like metaphors.  Personally, to me, it doesn't matter too much. 
>I am equally comfortable with either metaphorical or literal

On the contrary, I'm quite comfortable with metaphor.  However, I 
completely disagree with your assertion that "rigid rules" is not a 
metaphorical usage of the word "rigid".  It is an entirely standard and 
commonplace usage, yes, but that does not make it non-metaphorical.  
Everyday language can be (and often is) figurative, too.

>If you paid attention
>in your study of grammar, [...]

Please don't assume that someone who disagrees with you is either 
uneducated or stupid.  It's rather insulting and wholly inappropriate.

>OTOH, solid has a specific (literal) meaning that is very analogous to
>its proposed use (hence its suitability as a metaphor).  Thus it
>qualifies as a name much better than rigid does.

On the other hand, I could posit that "solid typing" could be seen as 
implying that objects are opaque black boxes, and thus that it's related 
more to data-hiding than to lack of type coercions. 

I'm not convinced that the physical property of solidity is a more 
compelling metaphor, and is less prone to alternative interpretations, 
than the physical property of rigidity.  Indeed, after looking at the 
dictionary definitions of both words, I find the case for "solid" to be 
even *more* vague.  The first given definition of "rigid" as "lacking 
flexibility" leads one immediately to the idea that is being discussed 
here.  "Solid", on the other hand, has a first definition of "being 
without an internal cavity" -- how does *that* relate to types?  And 
your attempts to simply repeat your assertions while insulting me don't 
make your argument any more convincing.

Jeff Shannon
Credit International

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