[Ads-l] Manually--now also by foot?

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Thu Jul 23 05:38:12 UTC 2015

On 22 Jul 2015, at 07:32, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> I don't see an issue with "manually" referring to a process requiring a
> finger on the keyboard to make each step happen.

It doesn’t, though, does it. The “finger on the keyboard” is only one of multiple
input methods that the computer could use, and whether or not the process is done 
manually (in the sense of *this* sentence, doesn’t depend on whether I use the keyboard,
the mouse, eye-tracking or voice control.

I could also give students instructions to a) graph some function-or-other and b)
“do the calculation manually” for a number of sample values, and would expect that
the manual calculation could be executed mentally, without writing anything down
or typing anything in at all. 

This said, if the operation is literally via the foot I cringe a little to call it 
manual, given that the word evokes “hand” for me. I ran it by my (native-speaker) 
spouse, and she asked for clarification whether the problem was “manually” for 
pedal operations, and then said she’s fine with it. She elaborated that in her 
usage, “manually” has come to mean “not automatically”, which is what is meant here.


Chris Waigl -- http://chryss.eu -- http://eggcorns.lascribe.net
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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