Pattern Language and OL LO19002

Dale Emery (
Thu, 27 Aug 1998 14:36:17 -0700

Replying to LO18973 --


> I literally just joined up yesterday, so haven't even posted an intro yet,
> but as an NLP practitioner I am interested in patterns in language - don't
> go and hide, please!!

Pattern languages are not the same thing as language patterns. In this
thread, "pattern" has a specific meaning that differs from the everyday
use of the word. I have only a cursory understanding of patterns, but
I'll give the definition as I understand it.

A pattern is a description of how to resolve a particular set of needs in
a particular context. The pattern includes descriptions of (1) the needs,
which may be in conflict, (2) the context in which the pattern applies,
and the relevant forces at play in that context (3) some action you can
take, (4) how the action satisfies the needs, and (5) the context that
results from the action.

A "pattern language" is a set of related patterns that you can piece
together to solve more complex problems in complex situations. This
piecing together is analogous to stringing together symbols in a language
to create meaningful sentences.

I invite list members who know more about this than I do to any mistakes I
may have made.



Dale H. Emery -- Collaborative Consultant High Performance for Software Development Projects E-mail: Web:

[Host's Note: I very much enjoyed one of the important source books in this area, Christopher Alexander, _The Timeless Way of Building_, which lays out the idea of a pattern language applied to the field of architecture.

Here's a book link in association with Timeless Way of Building Christopher Alexander / Hardcover/ Published 1979 Our Price: $31.50


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