Sunday, April 29, 2007

Semantics

After a discussion about law school outlines with a certain Canadian, as well as a minimal amount of research, I noticed a minor difference in terminology that, I think, says a lot about Canadians and Americans.

For an outline, law students will often create a step-by-step procedure for analyzing certain issues of law. For example, when deciding whether a 4th Amendment violation has occurred, the analysis goes: 1) Is it a search? 2) If it's a search, was there a warrant based on probable cause? 3) If there wasn't a warrant, did the search fall within another exception? And so on.

Apparently Canadian law students call this a flow chart. In my American law school experience, we call this an attack plan. And you wonder why everyone loves Canadians.

7 comments:

Shane Robinson said...

Up here in Seattle, we call it a Flow Chart; however, I might need an attack plan here soon if some magic doesn't happen on my outlines.

We are just Canadian wanna-bes anyway, eh?

Me said...

LOL, that's fascinating! Apparently some of Canada's sweetness has bled over into Washington...

Lawyerlike said...

I suppose that makes sense, we often drive just over the border for sweet, sweet savings at outlet stores. Bellingham, anyone?

Bzzzz said...

Guess I always thought that an attack plan was more written word and a flow chart was a diagram.

The definition of a flow chart - Noun - 1) a diagram of the sequence of movements or actions of people or things involved in a complex system or activity 2) a graphical representation of a computer program in relation to its sequence of functions (as distinct from the data it processes)).

I'm making an "attack plan" for copyright b/c my handwriting is messy and Viseo/PowerPoint takes too long - I'll make a "flow chart" for entertainment b/c we can't use computer notes.

Maybe Californians are just more precise with their language. .:snicker:.

Cappy said...

Also, in Canada we call it the 'high way', whereas in America you guys call it the 'free way'. Or so I've heard.

So logically speaking, I'm assuming the Americans have more car accidents on the 'free (to do whatvere you want) way'?

Bzzzz said...

We actually use both words, they are just muddled in their use at times:

highway (noun) - a main road, esp. one connecting major towns or cities

freeway (noun) - an express highway, esp. one with controlled access.
• a toll-free highway.

(Feeling like such an argumentative punk today - my apologies.)

Me said...

On the East Coast we never use "freeway;" everything is a highway. When I first came to CA I couldn't figure out what the difference was.

The only time I hear "highway" is when someone uses it as an adjective, such as "highway 101." In Jersey we'd say "route 101." In contrast, no one says "freeway 280" - it would be "highway 280!" (Or just "280.")

In California you're free; in Canada you're high... ;)