Summary: strong/weak typing and pointers

Jeff Shannon jeff at
Wed Nov 10 22:38:03 CET 2004

Carl Banks wrote:

>mike at (Michael Hobbs) wrote in message news:<10p1ud2juqlkb7c at>...
>>I was thinking that "rigid" would be the antonym of "fluid".
>You are correct, of course.  However, I don't like "rigid" as a term
>to describe typing, for a simple reason: it's not specific enough.
>Unlike solid, rigid can easily refer not only to substances, but also
>to stances, or laws, or hierarchies, or guidelines, etc. [...]
>On the opposite end, I think I actually would prefer "liquid" to
>"fluid".  Fluid would be ok; unlike with rigid, there are no fluid
>stances or fluid laws, although there are fluid guidelines.  Fluid
>isn't as general in meaning as rigid is.  However, the word liquid
>definitely stresses the metaphor with substances a lot better then the
>word fluid does.

On the other hand, I personally think that "rigid/fluid" make a better 
metaphor specifically *because* they are not tied so much to physical 
properties -- they are terms that have already been generalized as 
metaphor in the much same way as is intended here.  The parallel with 
rigid stances, rigid hierarchies, etc, is an appropriate one -- in all 
such cases, we're talking about something that resists attempts to 
change its nature and/or form.  Similarly, "fluid" connotes "easily 
conforming to its environment", an apt description of the behavior of 
objects in a language full of automatic conversions/coercions.  At least 
to me, the most obvious interpretation of both terms is the situation 
we're discussing here

Jeff Shannon
Credit International

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