Monday, August 14, 2006

coming soon(ish)...!

As some of you may know, for the past six or eight months I've been working on a dictionary of ski racing terminology on historical principles — that is, following the lexicographical method (popularized by the OED) of including only words that have appeared in print and of including these print citations within each entry. (Yes, web pages count as print now, too.) So far I have a few hundred entries with preliminary definitions written for most of them, along with citations for many, drawn from such sources as Ski Racing, rec.skiing.alpine, Bode Miller's Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun, and Hermann Maier's The Race of My Life. Next on my reading list are Mike Wilson's Right On the Edge of Crazy and Bill Johnson's Ski to Die.

Here is a little sneak preview of a sample entry for you NTAA readers:

verb [ intrans. ]
bend sideways at the ankles, knees, or hips so as to tip the skis on edge : 1994 From what I remember, they recommended somewhere between 1-2.5 degrees of angulation, making you slightly knock-kneed. This allows you initiate a turn instantly without having to angulate to get your ski on edge first. I had a race instructor cant me for this, and it makes a phenomenal difference. (rec.skiing.alpine, “Boot cant,” 12/18/94) • 2002 “Gretchen [Bleiler] is one of the few women freestylers that angulates real well,” [Pete DelGuidice] says. (SR, 12/27/02)

[ trans. ] 1994 Top racers are stuffing amazingly thick shims under their bindings to elevate the boot and improve their ability to angulate the ski. (rec.skiing.alpine, “new Ski Manufacturer wants input!,” 10/24/94)

ang•u•la•tion noun : 2003 [U.S. Ski Team coaches] also talk a lot about snow contact, pressure distribution and balance through angulation. (SR, 11/12/03)

Feedback welcomed in the comments section...


Richie Jay said...

Ooh! Be sure to include the word "huck," as in "huck yourself huge," which means to go big and catch massive air.

Example: The Heavenly Huckfest

in terms of the origins of the word, i think it may have been borrowed from skateboarding, but i could be totally wrong.

Kevin said...

That first rec.skiing.alpine post is actually a misuse of angulation; it matches neither your definition nor my conception of the word (which is based on USSA-promulgated coaching materials, among other sources). Adjusting the angle of the bootsole to the ski by means of canting is an equipment adjustment to improve static alignment, whereas angulation is an active movement by the body.

(confusingly, the use of angulate later in the same quotation is arguably correct, although it fails to distinguish between leaning and angulation, both of which can be used to put a ski on edge.)

On that, note, I'd suggest that you should strongly consider some reference to the distinction between tipping or leaning and angulation in the definition, as said difference is critical to the meaning of angulation as commonly used. The difference is implied in your definition (as bending sideways at one or more joints, particularly to separate the angle of the upper body from that of the lower body, is the distinction between angulation and leaning).

I'd also suggest the skivt-l archives as a useful source of material.

Sounds like a cool project, though.

Lindsay said...

Glad to see you're keeping busy! Maybe an indie rock scenester dictionary should be next!

Carl Burnett said...

Sparty, that's a good point about the rec.skiing.alpine post. I included it for that second use of "angulate," although you're probably right that I shouldn't include the part of the citation that misuses "angulation."

I would argue that "tipping" IS a means of creating angulation — just not one endorsed by ski coaches.

Thanks in particular for the link... I'm always looking for more sources of citations.

Carl Burnett said...

Richie, I haven't included "huck" because it's not specifically a ski racing word and isn't used much in that community. If I ever expand the dictionary to include more general skiing terms, it will certainly be in there.

Incidentally, "huck" in this sense makes its first dictionary appearance (as far as I'm aware) in Grant Barrett's awesome recent work, The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English. You can read his entry for it on his website, The Double-Tongued Word Wrester.

Kevin said...


I'd still argue that tipping and angulation are distinct methods of putting a ski on edge. If you don't distinguish between the two, how do you discuss their applicability to different situations and/or the increased usage of leaning at the World Cup level in the past ten years or so?

From my coaching clinic materials (received in March of 2002 at a USSCA Club Coach / Level I On-Snow Clinic):
Angulation -- Creating lateral angles in the lower body for balance on the ski edge. This can occur with the ankle, knee, hip, or a combination.

Inclination -- A tilting of the entire body to create lateral angles. It provides a stronger body position to react to forces than angulation, but also requires more body movement so it involves more movement time.

Perhaps in a more general sense, tipping is a form of angulation, but when discussing technique it has a specific meaning distinct from tipping or inclination. that I think about it, you should probably include both of Witherall's books on your reading list if you haven't already; particularly with regard to describing the mechanics of skiing, they are damn near definitive texts.

Carl Burnett said...

Great recommendation on Witherall's books... I hadn't thought about those. Just ordered them used from Amazon for like $2 each.

>Perhaps in a more general sense, tipping is a form of angulation, but when discussing technique it has a specific meaning distinct from tipping or inclination.

This is a good way to put it. One of the problems a lexicographer faces is whether to define certain words as they are actually used by real people "in the wild" or to define them the way an authority in the relevant technical field (i.e., here, a ski coach) would prefer they be defined. Usually, professional lexicographers tend to go with the former. Many skiers, upon watching someone tipping in but producing outrageous angles with the skis, would say, "Man, that's a lot of angulation!" As a lexicographer I want to write a definition that includes such uses, since they exist out there "in the wild," even though certain authorities on ski technique might disapprove.

Kevin said...

Based on the print sources you've listed and your comments above with regard to "huck", you seem to be leaning towards a ski-racing-specific definition of "in the wild"; I think that the distinction between tipping and angulation is well-accepted within that community (and I'd expect the words to be used consistently with that understanding in most of those print sources), although I certainly agree that the general skiing public doesn't get the distinction.

Of course, that's largely conjecture on my part, whereas you get to actually research it. :)

Liz N. said...

This is like Pulju's History of Linguistics class in action! Amazing, Carl.

I was just curious about something more in terms of format; when you have multiple definitions of a term (e.g., angulation), how do you determine which is listed first? Is the most common use listed first (e.g., the intransitive) or do they always go in a certain order?

I'm so impressed that you use your free time to practice lexcography. Keep up the good work, team.

Carl Burnett said...

Well, within one part of speech, it was traditionally the case (and still is with some dictionaries, like the OED) that the first definition was the oldest meaning, historically speaking. These days (only within the past couple of decades), most modern dictionaries put the most common meaning first.

As for which parts of speech to put first, I'm not 100% sure about that. My own decision is to put the most common part of speech, in my judgment, first. That said, I wouldn't put ski (noun) in between ski (intransitive verb) and ski (transitive verb) just because I thought it was more common than one but less common than the other; my instinct would be to keep the parts of speech segregated. I also won't deny that my knowledge and intuitions about word history play some role; in the preceding example I'd be likely to put the noun before the verb because I happen to know that ski was borrowed into English from Norwegian as a noun.

As I read more about lexicography, the more I'm finding there are no hard-and-fast rules, just traditions...

I'm psyched to see you're reading the blog, LIz... hope all's well.