April 12, 2004
What's In A Name?

In a post entitled “Which is it?”, Tyler Cowen of The Volokh Conspiracy asks why ‘Jane Galt’ sometimes calls her blog ‘Asymmetric Information’ rather than ‘Asymmetrical Information’, the name on the masthead, and what difference it makes. The words are synonyms, so the only difference is the rhythm. ‘Asymmetric Information’ would be a trochaic tetrameter, an inappropriately symmetrical rhythm far too reminiscent of Longfellow’s Hiawatha or the clunkier poems of Edgar Allan Poe. ‘Asymmetrical Information’ gives a pleasingly asymmetrical hipponactean.*

At least it would be a hipponactean if it were Greek verse: English professors may have another name for it. The hipponactean is named after the Greek poet Hipponax, the only one I know other than Hank Williams (Senior, of course) who writes of buckets of beer. Perhaps I’ll quote some choice bits when I have the time.

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*The definition is x x — v v — v - x, where is long, v is short, and x may be either. Its just a glyconic with one more syllable tacked on the end.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at April 12, 2004 12:09 AM