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Explanation of different use of the word handicap [#1136]

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reply Explanation of different use of the word handicap (2007-09-01 09:46) [#3870]

Explanation of different use of the word handicap

I think the following would be helpful for the article. Bill deleted it, therefore I would like to start a discussion here if it is helpful or not:

Note that this differs from the usual meaning of the word handicap. In English, a handicap is a disadvantage; but in the context of Go receiving a handicap gives Black an advantage. The origin of the complicated use of the word handicap is explained here: [ext]

Flower: Re: Explanation of different use of the word handicap (2007-09-01 11:39) [#3871]

The word 'handicap' is pretty much established among Go players in the west. So changing the word could be very difficult. Especially as (speaking relatively) one players advantage is the other ones disadvantage. So while the weaker player is the one to receive handicap stones, it is the stronger one that receives the handicap(disadvantage). As such I would prefer a clearer worded distinction between 'Handicap' and 'Handicap Stones' instead of a change of the word.

timan72: Re: Explanation of different use of the word handicap (2007-09-01 12:23) [#3873]

I am the poster of the link to the explanation of handicap on snopes. I do NOT propose to change the meaning of the word "handicap" used in Go. The page on snopes ([ext] contains information that helps understand how the meanings in competitions (including Go) and in colloquial English originated. The use of the word like in Go is much older than in colloquial English and makes perfect sense. It just seems to be a contradiction but actually it isn't. Me and other players in my Go club were confused about the different meanings and I think the explanation is really helpful.

Bill: Re: Explanation of different use of the word handicap (2007-09-01 18:10) [#3874]

Handicap is one of those wonderfully ambiguous words, such as cleave. From

  1. A factor conducive to superiority and success: advantage, head start, odds, start, vantage. See help/harm/harmless.
  2. An unfavorable condition, circumstance, or characteristic: detriment, disadvantage, drawback, minus. See help/harm/harmless.

Fascinating linguistically, but there is nothing special about the usage in go. That's why I did not feel the linguistic discussion belonged on the main page. I think it's fine in the forum, however. :)

And I did edit the text on the main page to say handicap stones instead of just handicap, to alleviate any confusion on the part of the reader. Only then did I delete the footnote.

xela: ((no subject)) (2007-09-01 11:49) [#3872]

The idea of a handicap to even up a sporting contest can work in either direction. For example, think of golf handicaps.

I've never known a beginner to be confused by the word. Therefore I think the deleted explanation is not necessary.

Still, it's worth asking about Bill's reason for the deletion.

MtnViewMark: ((no subject)) (2007-09-01 22:01) [#3875]

I agree with the deletion as I think that the use of the term handicap in Go is exactly one of the words common usages: think about its use with respect to the game of golf.

I found the footnote misleading as it seemed to imply that Go used term in some strange sense.

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