#397 13.3.2.1 Personal Characteristics: trait and state

GREEN
closed
5
2012-06-17
2012-04-20
No

In chapter 13.3.2.1 I read the two paragraphs:
"Where there is confusion between trait and state the more general purpose element state should be used even for unchanging characteristics. If you wish to distinguish between characteristics that are generally perceived to be time-bound states and those assumed to be fixed traits, then trait is available for the more static of these. The state element encodes characteristics which are sometimes assumed to change, often at specific times or over a date range, whereas the trait elements are used to record characteristics, such as eye-colour, which are less subject to change. Traits are typically, but not necessarily, independent of the volition or action of the holder."
and
"This element can be used to extend the range of descriptive information available in the same way as the trait element, using the same content model. However, if there is any confusion over whether something is a state or a trait, then the more general purpose state element should be used as almost all traits are time-bound in a general sense. state may be used for both time-bound and generally unchanging characteristics, but if you wish to distinguish between these then trait is available for the more static of these. Traits are typically, but not necessarily, independent of the volition or action of the holder."

First, I think that those two passages are quite redundant and one could be deleted when there is an appropriate reference to the other passage.
Second, I am confused by the second paragraph's wording "...as almost all traits are time-bound...". My understanding (as a non-native) was, that states were time-bound (if one wants to make that distinction)?!

Discussion

  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2012-04-20

    The second passage you quote follows the discussion of <state>, which comes after the discussion of <trait> and of the distinction between them. Both passages could be better expressed, I agree. Part of the problem is that <state> and <trait> are both equally generic; the distinction is in the questions of timing and of volition. state is intended for unchanging characteristics (but carries attributes to permit you to specify times in case they do in fact change), whereas trait is intended for characteristics which are intrinsically time-bound.
    I'll take the ticket and try to come up with some better wording.

     
  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2012-04-20
    • milestone: --> GREEN
    • assigned_to: nobody --> louburnard
     
  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2012-06-17

    At rev 10519 revised the first para as follows:

    <p>If none of the more specialised elements listed above is
    appropriate, then a choice must be made between the two generic
    elements <gi>trait</gi> and <gi>state</gi>. If you wish to
    distinguish between characteristics that are generally perceived to
    be transient and those which are generally considered unchanging,
    use <gi>state</gi> for the former, and <gi>trait</gi> for the
    latter. It may also be helpful to note that that traits are
    typically, but not necessarily, independent of the volition or
    action of the holder. If the distinction between state and trait is
    not considered relevant or useful, use <gi>state</gi>.</p>

    also removed the repetition from the rest of the chapter and reorganized the discussion a bit, hopefully more clearly.

     
  • Lou Burnard

    Lou Burnard - 2012-06-17
    • status: open --> closed
     

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