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

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jul 23 12:24:21 UTC 2015

Comments interspersed.
     From: Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET>
 Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:38 AM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Manually--now also by foot?
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.

JSB:  See my recent message on Hawking's manual methods.  ("Automatic" there might imply that the computer did his thinking, just as a car's "automatic shift" decides on its own when to change gears.)

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. 

JSB:  For me, a "manual" calculation means "without using a calculator", and would permit using one's hands (writing on paper or papyrus).

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.

JSB:  Manual, superciliary, malar, and pedual.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list