Anon's opinion ("Robert Jasiek's writing style is off putting. He not only defines foreign language Go terms, but redefines common English terms in a non-intuitive way, which is difficult to read.") expresses surprising thoughts: that defining foreign language go terms would be off-putting and that redefining common English terms in a non-intuitive way would be off-putting.

Is defining foreign language go terms any more or less off-putting than defining English go terms? I do not think so because foreign language Go terms can be useful and English language go terms can be useful. Regardless of language, some go terms can be more useful than others. We recognise the usefulness of some foreign language go terms by frequently using them: e.g., sente. We recognise the usefulness of familiar (English) language by using English for other go terms: e.g., connection.

Is it bad to define go terms (foreign or English)? Before this is answered, a more fundamental question arises: Is it bad to describe roughly the meaning of go terms? Rough description is better than no description because it is meaning that makes go terms useful at all instead of superfluous. Is accurate definition bad but rough description good? Surely it depends on one's preferences and purposes of application. Definition has the advantages of accuracy, general applicability of a term in practice and general applicability of a term for considering other general concepts (terms or principles). Rough description has the advantage of allowing fast imprecise application of a term in practice more easily. People preferring general applicability might prefer definitons while people preferring faster application might prefer rough descriptions.

Does the book really redefine common English terms in a non-intuitive way? It defines, e.g., "A cut separates the opponent's groups.". I find that this meets my intuition. Does Anon not think so? Maybe he thinks only that part of the definitions violate (his) intuition? Surely the book does contain also such definitions that might violate one's intuition, e.g., "A direct connection prevents any opposing cut.". It is quite possible that this term with this definition is not perceived to be intuitive. In fact, the purpose of the book's definitions has not been to map all go players' intersection of intuition about which go terms exist at all and what, by intuition, they mean. Rather the purpose is to present a set of accurately defined go terms with which powerful strategic and tactical joseki-related planning is possible in general, even when one's intuition does not provide a clear answer on, e.g., a move's or stone's meaning.

Are common English terms useful? Since Anon speaks of "terms", he does not appear to refer to ordinary words of common English language but appears to refer to go terms used in specialised meaning for the game. Surely, common English go terms can be useful. The more interesting question is: To which extent can they be useful? Their usefulness ends where they are a) too rough descriptions or b) do not make finer distinctions between different subtypes of a concept. E.g., the common English go term "connection" does not make any finer distinction between subtypes, which the book introduces as "string connection", "direct connection" and "indirect connection". When one wants to make more detailed strategic or tactical planning, then more detailed, relevant terms prove to be useful, e.g., in general principles.

As the example of connection subtypes shows, the book introduces also a couple of new terms. (Anon has not expressed an opinion on that.) He finds redefining common English go terms off-putting. This asks for an example of a common English go term that the book redefines. Why not take the book's first example of a "redefinition"? "Aji lies in the latent, bad possibilities in a player's imperfect shape that the opponent might exploit to his advantage at a suitable moment." Off-putting? Why? Bon, it is a redefinition. I think that it is a very good redefinition: it specifies carefully the meaning of aji.

JosekiVolume1Fundamentals/Discussion last edited by RobertJasiek on December 23, 2012 - 18:04
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