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Replace "hit" with "press" as an instruction to use a key #858

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cassgvp opened this issue Dec 16, 2021 · 5 comments
Open

Replace "hit" with "press" as an instruction to use a key #858

cassgvp opened this issue Dec 16, 2021 · 5 comments
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good first issue Good issue for first-time contributors type:discussion Discussion or feedback about the lesson type:feedback Issue to provide feedback on lesson

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@cassgvp
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cassgvp commented Dec 16, 2021

Problem

In the setup and first episode of the git-novice lesson, participant are instructed to "hit" a key. This language is unnecessarily emotive and not precise enough. There may also be interpretation issues for non-native English speakers.

Proposed Solution

A more inclusive and precise instruction would be to "press the x key on your keyboard"

Note "hit" is also used in a few places in the shell-novice lesson.

@scottgruber scottgruber self-assigned this Aug 25, 2022
@scottgruber scottgruber added type:feedback Issue to provide feedback on lesson good first issue Good issue for first-time contributors labels Aug 25, 2022
@fesquive
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As a non-native English speaker, I disagree. I think using synonyms enriches our vocabulary :)

@cassgvp
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cassgvp commented Dec 15, 2022

Fair enough @fesquive! Perhaps this might be a difference of high and low context communication styles. I look forward to seeing how the team disentangle the priorities of enriched vs (my interpretation of) aggressive language. Absolutely not trying to be inflammatory here! Just providing the feedback :)

@kekoziar
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Here's another conversation on the use of words indicating someone is depressing a key on their keyboard.

I personally am for word variation since a number of different words are used interchangeably in actual use. If a learner is new to any of the content in The Carpentries lessons, I think it's better for them to be exposed to the different terms in a safe learning environment. A couple of other examples of this are directory and folder; and, command line, shell, console, and terminal. But, I can see the point on aggressive language.

That said, since this is something that has the potential to impact all Carpentries lessons, I encourage discussion which we can then give to the curriculum committee.

@cassgvp do you know any references/studies on how aggressive language impacts pedagogy?

@kekoziar kekoziar added the type:discussion Discussion or feedback about the lesson label Dec 15, 2022
@gazalk
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gazalk commented Jul 20, 2023

I would like to mention a traditional phrase in computer science: "Press any key to continue...".

"Press" is more delicate, formal, and traditional within this context, while "hit" sounds a little informal in comparison. The difference is slightly subtle with "hit", although it is not incorrect, I would still prefer to use the word "press" for the written lesson. It may be up to the instructor to choose the level of formality, delivery of commands, and spoken language in the class.

@mahermanns
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mahermanns commented Jan 30, 2024

Hi all, I tend to agree with @gazalk. I, personally as a non-native Speaker in English, also understand press as a more delicate action than hit.

Additionally, a while back attending a scientific writing course the instructor actually discouraged the use of different words for the same concept in a single scientific context, as it may confuse the reader. IIRC, he argued that, while done in prose to add variation and suspense, in a scientific context it may add imprecision and confusion

While I appreciate that hit and press are used interchangeably by many people, some may still recognize their subtle differences and be confused by their equivalent use in the same context.

For example, there is something like a "long press", yet no equivalent for "long hit", as a hit (in my understanding as a non-native speaker in English) is (always?) a quick action (and presumably with more force, as suggested in the conversation linked by @kekoziar ? 🤷 language experts for the rescue?).

Assume the following example:

"Press the 'A' key followed by 'B'
...
"Now hit the 'C' key

A reader/course participant may wonder: Does the physical action associated with the 'C' key have to be different from the one associated with the 'A' and 'B' key? Why else are two different words used in this context?

As press is (in my understanding) the more broadly applicable term when interacting with the keyboard (I can hit a key, but I can also press, short press, long press, press and hold, ...), I favor it's use in a technical teaching environment.

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