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Re: terminology: period vs. wavelength

At 19:54 6/29/01 -0400, John Denker responded to
Michael Edmiston's note in this way:
Before there was Latin _periodus_ there was Greek
_periodos_ "circuit"
_peri_ "around"
_odos_ "way" (same root as "odometer")
giving no reason to restrict the concept to temporal periods.

[For mavens of the written word, what is in discussion here
is etymology. There is a good etymological dictionary of
English English, that is the OED and its siblings and
offspring, COD etcetera. There is a good etymological
dictionary of American English too, where the taste for
etymology is not so cultivated, and that is the Century.

I expect there are others too, but I don't know them,
other than Lexicon's "New Webster's" and Britannica's
"Webster's International" which handle this word well]

If I ask students for the wavelength of a sound wave
I expect them to report a length,


and if I ask for the period of a sound wave I expect
them to report a time.

Not so clear.

To my ears, in this context wavelength is a
_more specific_ term than
period, equivalent to "spatial period". ///

I find myself in agreement with John Denker. Moreover, the
respectable phrase "periodic time" lifts the term in question
to the same level of explication as "wavelength": an easy out.

brian whatcott <> Altus OK