30 June 2007

phonological constraints in bracketology

i haven't posted in a long, long time. this past week it's because i've been growing roots in front of my tv and computer watching Wimbledon all day every day. (it's the first time i've had a chance to watch opening round coverage, and my goodness, if you're a Wimbledon fan like me and my family, it will consume your soul.)

anyhow, the Wimbledon singles draws are some of the largest single-elimination bracketed tournaments that i know of, as both the gentlemen's and ladies' singles draws start with 128 competitors. despite the rain delays which England is prone to this time of year, we're approaching the start of the fourth of seven rounds of the singles tournaments. if you run through your powers of two, you'll discover that in the fourth round there are 16 players remaining. in the fifth round, there will be 8 players remaining.

but the fifth round isn't ever called the fifth round, because the nomenclature for tournament rounds works from both ends. the seventh round will be contested between two individuals for the championship, but we call it the finals. then working back up the bracket there are the semifinals, quarterfinals, and so on.

but really "and so on?" not in English. but yes in other languages. i'm most familiar with Italian, in which the rounds in tournaments are referred to (in reverse order from the finals) the finale, semifinali, quarti di finale, and ottavi di finale. but following the same model in English, what would we call the fourth round of Wimbledon? the eighthfinals--gross! nobody likes two fricatives next to each other. so it's the fourth round, round of 16, or even the sweet sixteen, unless you're a purist who doesn't use that term except in the month of March.


Rodrigo said...
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Camiseta Personalizada said...
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