Neil Hopcroft

A digital misfit

Pattern reconstruction

After something of a hiatus here, I’m going to make a bit of a transition. My time has now become significantly limited, so I can no longer maintain the Octave build system I was working on – it has been archived and I may resurrect it at some point in the future, but for now I cannot give the attention it deserves, better to not try than to do half a job.

Moving forward, I want to develop my ability to write. To this end I want to pick up a pattern from software engineering and apply it to human language. The pattern is this: buy a software design patterns book and implement them one by one as you read about them. You can see this pattern in many code bases as you move around the industry.

This pattern can be applied to human language. It seems to me that language patterns, or figures of speech, can be practised without the kind of maintenance overhead required by long lived software projects.

I never had any formal training in rhetoric, although I attended a grammar school, it was a grammar school in name only and still behaved like the technical high school it was until my arrival. The classics would have bored me at the time, so even if that had been available it would not have been of interest.

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