Nitpick: Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant.


Ancestries & Backgrounds


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I'm not the first to notice, but a search came up dry. Inflammable goblin gives you fire resistance. Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant, it means the same as flammable because English is a goofy language. It should probably get a name change or change the mechanics to give the inflammable goblin some kind of bonus when on fire.


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
I'm not the first to notice, but a search came up dry. Inflammable goblin gives you fire resistance. Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant, it means the same as flammable because English is a goofy language. It should probably get a name change or change the mechanics to give the inflammable goblin some kind of bonus when on fire.

True.

From https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/flammable-or-inflammable

Merriam-Webster.com wrote:

In English, we think of in- as a prefix that means "not": inactive means "not active," inconclusive means "not conclusive," inconsiderate means "not considerate." Therefore, inflammable should mean "not flammable."

That would make sense—if inflammable had started out as an English word. We get inflammable from the Latin verb inflammare, which combines flammare ("to catch fire") with a Latin prefix in-, which means "to cause to." This in- shows up occasionally in English words, though we only tend to notice it when the in- word is placed next to its root word for comparison: impassive and passive, irradiated and radiated, inflame and flame. Inflammable came into English in the early 1600s.

Things were fine until 1813, when a scholar translating a Latin text coined the English word flammable from the Latin flammare, and now we had a problem: two words that look like antonyms but are actually synonyms. There has been confusion between the two words ever since.

Silver Crusade

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I think the misunderstanding is thinking that inflammable goblins can't be set on fire. That's not the case.

You can totally set them on fire, it just doesn't deal damage to the inflammable goblin when you do.

Silver Crusade

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The human torch for example is another example of an inflammable character. He can be set on fire, but he cannot be burned.


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Nope. They are using the word incorrectly.
It isn't the only case where they are using the wrong word, either.

Heritage is the traditions you learn from your forebears, not the physical characteristics you inherit from your lineage.
Heritage should be renamed "Heredity" instead.

There are others.


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Can confirm, that's the wrong word.
English is a weird language, and sometimes that means derivations or borrowed roots don't fit in.

There's another few cases around, mostly nitpicking (evocation comes to mind*), but this one is blatant, and should get fixed. It's not just about latin or language specialists, it's something that about pretty much anyone with a good/detailed vocabulary (or someone who works in kitchens I guess?) would find confusing.

*

Spoiler:
The root for evocation means "to call out/from", and it's basically the commonly used word for summon (as much as we can consider summons and summoning "common" words). It confuses me sometimes because that's what my language translated Conjuration to.


Ediwir wrote:

Can confirm, that's the wrong word.

English is a weird language, and sometimes that means derivations or borrowed roots don't fit in.

There's another few cases around, mostly nitpicking (evocation comes to mind*), but this one is blatant, and should get fixed. It's not just about latin or language specialists, it's something that about pretty much anyone with a good/detailed vocabulary (or someone who works in kitchens I guess?) would find confusing.

*** spoiler omitted **

It was my understanding that evocation is called that because it calls fire, lightning, force, or whatever from nothing/magic/wherever it is it comes from. I'm not sure what a good alternate name for it would be. Elder scrolls calls fire ice and lightning as destruction, but making a big glowy hand to defend you isn't very destructive. Some systems might suggest elementalism, but not all evocations are elemental either... I can't think of a name that applies without requiring a bunch of spells to get moved.


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Not sure if we're allowed to post slinks like this but...

Obligatory


Give it another 5 years and chances are it'll be adapted in the modern dictionary.

There are plenty of loan words with strange etymologies that did not fit the normal linguistic landscape, that, through misuse, altered the meaning entirely resulting in the original origins being a secondary meaning and the colloquially accepted meaning as the standard.

This likely won't be very long until it is.
It semi regularly appears in safety manuals and a few trade books.

English is weird. it'll eat anything and it'll change anything if it gets used that way often enough.

All that said.
I'd really prefer Fire retardant Goblin. or antiburn goblins.
outside shot of nonflammable goblins--this one because i'm highly amused with how it relates to recylcing in Japan. cause then I'd make a flaming Goblin named Moenai

Silver Crusade

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LordVanya wrote:

Heritage is the traditions you learn from your forebears, not the physical characteristics you inherit from your lineage.

Heritage should be renamed "Heredity" instead.

Heritage meaning lineage is actually correct in North American vernacular. Also going off the common definition "property that is or may be inherited", property in this case means anything that can be inherited, not just separate tangible objects like heirlooms.


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Zwordsman wrote:
Give it another 5 years and chances are it'll be adapted in the modern dictionary.

Until all the "inflammable gas" warning signs are gone from the world, it's probably not a good idea to allow this usage to change.


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Zwordsman wrote:
Give it another 5 years and chances are it'll be adapted in the modern dictionary.

As much as I love bashing on English’s oddities, this kind of talk is frustrating. Other people’s mistakes do not justify ours, and the popularity of mistakes does not justify them. Yes, language changes, but that’s not how language innovation works.

Spelling and pronunciations change fairly easily. New meanings get added from time to time. Meanings change. But it’s a gradual process and it always follows certain pathways. Words meaning never reverses ‘just because’.


Corwin Icewolf wrote:
I'm not the first to notice, but a search came up dry. Inflammable goblin gives you fire resistance. Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant, it means the same as flammable because English is a goofy language. It should probably get a name change or change the mechanics to give the inflammable goblin some kind of bonus when on fire.

Eh... you're right. Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant. But it should. Screw whomever decided to be so inconsistent with the English language.


Ediwir wrote:
The popularity of mistakes does not justify them. Yes, language changes, but that’s not how language innovation works.

It kind of does. In general I hear way more people use inflammable incorrectly to mean not flammable, because we associate the prefix in- as meaning not.


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What's wrong with nonflammable?


Ediwir wrote:
Meanings change. But it’s a gradual process and it always follows certain pathways. Words meaning never reverses ‘just because’.

"Awful" once meant “worthy of awe”...

If people hear a word or phrase and think it means something, eventually that becomes the accepted meaning.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Meanings change. But it’s a gradual process and it always follows certain pathways. Words meaning never reverses ‘just because’.

"Awful" once meant “worthy of awe”...

If people hear a word or phrase and think it means something, eventually that becomes the accepted meaning.

That's not a complete reversal. Awe usually means reverence, but can be negative as in inspiring fear or horror.

Liberty's Edge

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I like to think it's the term the goblins use for themselves, as they neither know nor care about the actual meaning in Common.


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Shisumo wrote:
I like to think it's the term the goblins use for themselves, as they neither know nor care about the actual meaning in Common.

That... is some serious fridge brilliance right there. I think you may have actually made me like the heritage name.


The Sideromancer wrote:
What's wrong with nonflammable?

Non-flammable would be fine.

But it doesn't stop confusion on the word inflammable.


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inflammable basically means easily inflamed. so 100% being used incorrectly

the correct word would be nonflammable or flame retardant

on a side note, they should really fix it. anyone who has ever done work in chemistry or biology, knows that a lot of dangerous chemicals are labeled "highly inflammable", it's a bad idea to give people in a publication being seen by many, some of which may end up in a lab or setting with such chemicals one day, the wrong idea of what the word inflammable actually means.


ikarinokami wrote:
inflammable basically means easily inflamed. so 100% being used incorrectly

Not based on how people commonly use language anymore. You can look at the historical definition and the book definitions...but if people don't use it that was on average anymore, it has ceased to be correct (in the context of language). Yes this can be aggravating, but it doesn't make it less true.

ikarinokami wrote:

the correct word would be nonflammable or flame retardant

on a side note, they should really fix it. anyone who has ever done work in chemistry or biology, knows that a lot of dangerous chemicals are labeled "highly inflammable", it's a bad idea to give people in a publication being seen by many, some of which may end up in a lab or setting with such chemicals one day, the wrong idea of what the word inflammable actually means.

I feel like the correct course of action is to stop using the word altogether, since it causes confusion. Flammable and Nonflammable would do just fine. Inflammable is unnecessarily confusing, especially for laypeople working around certain fields. Chemistry being a great example. I used to work for a company that made catalyst out of lots of metal oxides. Which can be very reactive and can easily start fires, specifically any reduced catalysts. But telling the administrative assistant that it was inflammable could be a point of confusion leading to accidentally setting packaging on fire. It happened when a sample was put into a plastic container once, instead of metal.

You shouldn't knowingly continue use of a word that you know is contentious in its use.


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ikarinokami wrote:

inflammable basically means easily inflamed. so 100% being used incorrectly

the correct word would be nonflammable or flame retardant

on a side note, they should really fix it. anyone who has ever done work in chemistry or biology, knows that a lot of dangerous chemicals are labeled "highly inflammable", it's a bad idea to give people in a publication being seen by many, some of which may end up in a lab or setting with such chemicals one day, the wrong idea of what the word inflammable actually means.

Or here's a thought, we could use actually clear language to label chemicals, and recognize that Paizo is not responsible for lab safety?

Using inflammable to mean flammable may be technically correct, but it is inarguably confusing to no benefit. There's not even any nuance of meaning between the two. It's the height of grammar snobbery, really, since it's a 'mistake' which is made by correctly applying the general rules of grammar. Or if we must keep the word, at least start spelling it 'enflammable' instead.


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At least Inflammable becomes easier to understand when you learn more about language as a whole. Some things become way worse.

10^?:
Wikipedia, Billion wrote:

A billion is a number with two distinct definitions:

1,000,000,000, i.e. one thousand million, or 109 (ten to the ninth power), as defined on the short scale. This is now the meaning in both British and American English.[1][2]
Historically, in British English, 1,000,000,000,000, i.e. one million million, or 1012 (ten to the twelfth power), as defined on the long scale. This is one thousand times larger than the short scale billion, and equivalent to the short scale trillion.

American English has always used the short scale definition but British English once employed both versions. Historically, the United Kingdom used the long scale billion but since 1974 official UK statistics have used the short scale. Since the 1950s the short scale has been increasingly used in technical writing and journalism, although the long scale definition still enjoys some limited usage.[3]

Other countries use the word billion (or words cognate to it) to denote either the long scale or short scale billion. For details, see Long and short scales – Current usage.

Another word for one thousand million is milliard, but this is used much less often in English than billion. Some European languages such as Romanian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Czech, Russian, French, Bulgarian and German, use milliard (or a related word) for the short scale billion, and billion (or a related word) is used for the long scale billion. Thus for these languages billion is thousand times larger than the modern English billion. However, in Russian, milliard (миллиард) is used for the short scale billion, and trillion (триллион) is used for the long scale billion.

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I think it may actually be intentionally used based on the idea that these goblins have lit themselves on fire a lot over the generations and are thus used to it. It's not that they're nonflammable, it's that they can be safely lit on fire. An inflammable goblin can stroll around while actively burning without taking any significant risk of harm; particularly aggressive inflammable goblins could potentially even light themselves on fire intentionally so that they spread fire everywhere they go. The fact that inflammable might be misinterpreted as "nonflammable" or "fireproof" is a kind of amusing coincidence that still makes the appellation work when viewed through a different lens.


Sideroamner, that is a great example.

Another interesting example is decimal places vs commas and the way some countries use them, in reverse of the American version I'm used to.

I one saw someone talking about buying something for 1,99 and I thought "They've made a typography error, and that's a lot of money for that thing."

Only to later see in the discussion something 0,99. And that's when I realized that they're were from a place which used the comma to represent the demarcation of fractions of a unit, they way we use a decimal point in the US.

And then I saw 1.999,00 which is what really through me off and finally had an understanding. They just completely used them opposite the way we did.

I figured it out, but damn it was confusing.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Zwordsman wrote:
Give it another 5 years and chances are it'll be adapted in the modern dictionary.
Until all the "inflammable gas" warning signs are gone from the world, it's probably not a good idea to allow this usage to change.

I don't know the last time I saw anything labeled with that. I often see just the visual picture warning, or it says flammable or non-flammable.

I wonder where and who still uses those.. and if its a factor of old equipment vs new standards or if its just a legacy thing

-----
some point I need to make the Goblin Moeru Moenai who just causes all the fire hazards and dances in flames. and gets drunk on flaming alcohol

...though playing a goblin is still so weird. more so when the first playtest thingy started out with.. evil goblins.
though i wonder if i couldj ust fluff half goblin half human (while only taking goblin ancestry feats) though some GMs aren't ok with that sadly

Grand Lodge

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Apropos of Nothing, but there's a Clarissa Explains it All episode in where inflammable and flammable meaning the same thing is a major plot point.

That's how I learned that inflammable is a dumb word.


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Outflammable goblin.


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Let me tell about language changes I really hope won't happen.
Imagine if some people start using the expression 'rather than' as if it meant 'either'.

"Tomorrow I'll have pizza rather than salad for dinner."
This means that the speaker will definitely eat pizza and not salad, but what they really mean is that they will have any of the two, they are equal to them.
That's wrong and confusing, isn't it?
Well, it becomes a fashion. Journalists start using that expression in the wrong way on tv, and more people follow: if they talk like that on tv, that must be cool!

A nightmare. But that's exactly what's happening here.
Everytime I hear the dreaded expression I shudder, while the speaker is always so proud of their fashionable, but HORRIBLE AND HORRIBLY WRONG speech.

Rant over. Sorry.
Please don't change word meanings out of errors, or fashion. Please, please, don't!


Rysky wrote:
LordVanya wrote:

Heritage is the traditions you learn from your forebears, not the physical characteristics you inherit from your lineage.

Heritage should be renamed "Heredity" instead.
Heritage meaning lineage is actually correct in North American vernacular. Also going off the common definition "property that is or may be inherited", property in this case means anything that can be inherited, not just separate tangible objects like heirlooms.

I prefer words be used with their dictionary meaning instead of the vernacular use and will always push for dictionary meaning first unless it sounds stupid.

Further, Heredity actually has a primary meaning of genetic inheritance which matches the actual use of Heritage in the game. It can also refer to property, but so can heritage.

Therefore, heredity would be clearer, even if only for a handful of grammar hounds like myself.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Meanings change. But it’s a gradual process and it always follows certain pathways. Words meaning never reverses ‘just because’.

"Awful" once meant “worthy of awe”...

If people hear a word or phrase and think it means something, eventually that becomes the accepted meaning.

And how many centuries did that change take to come about?

Liberty's Edge

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Prescriptive grammar is ivory-tower elitism and counter to the way language actually functions. </linguistics nerd>


Megistone wrote:

Let me tell about language changes I really hope won't happen.

Imagine if some people start using the expression 'rather than' as if it meant 'either'.

"Begs the question."

Silver Crusade

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How awesomely awful, and terribly terrific that this word choice has caused every tongue clucking grammarian out of the woodwork.


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I'm the biggest language nerd I know. I like seeing how languages get added to. But there have been too many examples of a loss of an original meaning being to the detriment of the word, and arguably our culture as a whole, for me condone this. As a case in point, there's a word for a bundle of sticks that probably won't get through the swearing filter.


The Sideromancer wrote:
As a case in point, there's a word for a bundle of sticks that probably won't get through the swearing filter.

I believe it's also the British word for "cigarette"


Draco18s wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Let me tell about language changes I really hope won't happen.

Imagine if some people start using the expression 'rather than' as if it meant 'either'.
"Begs the question."

Sorry, I don't get it. English isn't my main language. Would you please explain?


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This thread took a turn for the hilarious.

Yes there are still signs that say inflammable, I see them at work on a resin tank, on barrels with discarded catalyst in them. Yes some look quite old.

Some people know the correct meaning, some people think it means the opposite. You can't just suddenly change the correct word meaning and expect everyone who knew the old meaning to start using the new one. It doesn't really matter, as was noted above, if the word causes confusion and there's a less confusing word, the less confusing word should be used.

In places that still have inflammable signs, there should be someone who is supposed to remind people that inflammable means flammable. (what a country!)

In books, it should be replaced with non flammable or flammable depending on what the person meant.

Megistone wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Let me tell about language changes I really hope won't happen.

Imagine if some people start using the expression 'rather than' as if it meant 'either'.
"Begs the question."
Sorry, I don't get it. English isn't my main language. Would you please explain?

Begging the question is a fallacy in which an argument presupposes its conclusion. Though I didn't think you were doing that, personally.


Megistone wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Megistone wrote:

Let me tell about language changes I really hope won't happen.

Imagine if some people start using the expression 'rather than' as if it meant 'either'.
"Begs the question."
Sorry, I don't get it. English isn't my main language. Would you please explain?

Basically, "beg the question" has two meanings, neither of which has a massive amount of evidence for it. Here's an article on it

Edit: The post above mine references the older definition (derived by way of a translation of a major book), compared to the more recent (and arguably more literal) one that refers to the situation bringing a specific question to mind.


I'm entirely on the side of inflammable being ridiculous as a word and being changed to mean not flammable. However, I also understand the purist side of the argument as I will never forgive potheads for ruining the word "dank".


Alyran wrote:
I'm entirely on the side of inflammable being ridiculous as a word and being changed to mean not flammable. However, I also understand the purist side of the argument as I will never forgive potheads for ruining the word "dank".

The way that potheads use it is actually completely correct and based on the dictionary definition of dank. It's the people who heard them use it and assumed it was some new word for cool that caused that problem.


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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Sorry, I don't get it. English isn't my main language. Would you please explain?
Begging the question is a fallacy in which an argument presupposes its conclusion. Though I didn't think you were doing that, personally.

I hadn't meant my post to say "you are doing this thing" but more of a "here's another one that aggravates people." Hence the quotation marks as opposed to none and the inclusion of the word "you're."

Sorry if it wasn't clear.


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I not sure what people are talking about, but inflammable is still commonly seen and used in chemistry labs, and most hard science textbooks will use the word inflammable.


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This really jumped out at me too. I mentioned it in the comments for the blog post. It seems like someone didn't bother to check the dictionary. Honestly a better choice might just go back to the original heritage feat that this heritage is based on, Flame Heart. Call them Flame-Heart Goblins. That also has an advantage of sounding like a plausible goblin tribe name. "We be Flame-Hearts, you be food!"


Or if they did intend it as a joke, they should express it in the flavor text of the Heredity(:P).
And if it was a mistake, they should probably run with it and express it in the flavor text also.


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Shisumo wrote:
Prescriptive grammar is ivory-tower elitism and counter to the way language actually functions. </linguistics nerd>

Well, I'm a nearly self-taught programmer without a college degree and I just think sticking to proper grammar as much as possible makes it easier to communicate with people that are supposed to be speaking the same language.

On a side note, if you ever see me write the word 'weird' as 'wierd' instead, that is because I like it better and tickles my brain when I think that I write wierd in a weird way.

(I never claimed I was sane.)


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
This really jumped out at me too. I mentioned it in the comments for the blog post. It seems like someone didn't bother to check the dictionary. Honestly a better choice might just go back to the original heritage feat that this heritage is based on, Flame Heart. Call them Flame-Heart Goblins. That also has an advantage of sounding like a plausible goblin tribe name. "We be Flame-Hearts, you be food!"

I believe Paizo intentionally avoided the lore names for the various heritages (point for that, by the way: "heredities" is an awkward word). I imagine in the final book they will absolutely be called Flame-Heart goblins, just like the Snowcaster elves.


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ikarinokami wrote:

inflammable basically means easily inflamed. so 100% being used incorrectly

the correct word would be nonflammable or flame retardant

on a side note, they should really fix it. anyone who has ever done work in chemistry or biology, knows that a lot of dangerous chemicals are labeled "highly inflammable", it's a bad idea to give people in a publication being seen by many, some of which may end up in a lab or setting with such chemicals one day, the wrong idea of what the word inflammable actually means.

The professional chemist approves of this message. Laboratory accidents involving fire are bad.

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