[MPlayer-DOCS] [PATCH] Update x264's manpage section

The Wanderer inverseparadox at comcast.net
Sat Oct 25 14:08:33 CEST 2008

Loren Merritt wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Oct 2008, The Wanderer wrote:
>> Diego Biurrun wrote:

>>> It seems like rate-distortion is the more common spelling, so
>>> scratch that...
>> There's probably a reason for that. By my understanding of the way
>> grouping works in English, since you have an adjective+noun pair
>> modifying a second noun, you need to join the first adjective to
>> its noun somehow because the two of them effectively constitute a
>> single unit; the hyphen is the standard way of doing that.
>> That's absolutely not a formal rule as far as I'm aware, but it is
>> my assessment based on an extended informal study of the subject.
> I don't think you can parse it as an english phrase, it's math.

I don't see how that remotely follows... nor do I see how the math
connection, even if present, would override or otherwise prevent parsing
this as an English phrase. We are writing in English, and the rest of
the sentence is English; there is no reason for the reader to parse this
fragment of the sentence differently, so it *must* be safe to interpret
it as English, or the intended meaning will probably not get across.

> "Rate" and "distortion" are both acting as variables (and I don't
> know whether that counts as noun, adjective, or something else, but
> whatever they are, they're the same type). The hyphen means "vs",
> though I would never expand it in writing nor speech.

In the form without the hyphen, what it would mean is "the optimization
of the rate of distortion".

In English, which is what we are writing here, that phrase is better
contracted into the form with the hyphen.

If that is not the intended meaning, then something other than the
hyphen should be used, because using the hyphen is misleading; it is not
intuitively parsed as "vs.", at least not in this context, except
perhaps to people who are already familiar with the intended meaning.
Based on your description, I would probably use a slash instead.

In English, I find the assertion that the hyphen means "vs." to seem
bizarre. It can mean that in certain contexts, yes, but it is *vastly*
more common for it to indicate connection or association between the
words, and I suspect I would find the "vs." meaning to be a derivation
of that "connection" meaning in any specific example of the former.

> And the whole phrase is exactly the same form as "X-Y graph".

For the record, I would also interpret "X-Y graph" as an adjective+noun
phrase, where "X-Y" is a single - albeit, if you prefer, combined -
adjective. Likewise, if it were meaningful in practice to refer to an "X
graph", that would be an adjective+noun phrase with "X" as the single

> There are also variants with more terms, such as
> "rate-distortion-complexity optimization" which trades off between 3
> variables.

For reference, what this would mean is "the optimization of the
complexity of the rate of distortion". Again, the hyphenated clause acts
as a single unit, in this case an adjective.

       The Wanderer

Warning: Simply because I argue an issue does not mean I agree with any
side of it.

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

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