Thursday, December 29, 2011


An interesting debate has been taking place around the term "BIM model".  Personally I think that Luke Johnson is closer to the truth than James Van.  Both do excellent work in the Revit Blogosphere, but if you want to venture into the world of linguistics, it pays to do your homework. 

I recommend "The Unfolding of Language" by Guy Deutscher.  It's a cracking read and full of deep insight into the slippery nature of words.

"BIM model" has caught on because "Building Information Model" is too long to use repeatedly, and "BIM" on its own is too short/ambiguous.  "BIM model" makes it absolutely clear that you are talking about a thing, not a process.  If you don't like it come up with a better term.

The crucial point to remember is that literal translations will always sound clumsy.  (try Google Translate)   For example "crucial point" translates to "cross-shaped dot" or perhaps "cross-shaped sharp thing".  Neither of these sounds very clever, but should that discourage me from using a very useful phrase ?

Guy Deutscher cites the wonderful example of French for "today".  Literally speaking, "aujourd'hui" expands to "on the day of this day" ("hui" is a contraction of the Latin "Hodie", itself a slurred version of Hoc Die) 

I'm not sure if James has children, but if he does he probably tells them bedtime stories that begin with "once upon a time" ... which is essentially the same as saying "one-time-up-on-one-time".  Pretty stupid when you dissect it, but a wonderful phrase that has enchanted countless generations of children.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that language is a wonderful, elusive, contradictory, adventure.  There's no point in complaining, you may as well enjoy the ride.


  1. Fantastic, Andy! I appreciate your continuation of the BIM terminology discussion.

  2. Hi James
    Glad you take it in good spirit ... which is where I'm heading now, it being the start of the weekend here in Dubai ... Your good health sir :-)

  3. I think that there is not a problem to use BIM as an adjective. Then you could say BIM model, BIM tool, BIM aplication, etc.

    Isn't it?

  4. happened upon your blog on this first day of 2012. I gotta say that you are my hero! Architect, Bricklayer, Revit Champion, Blues musician indeed. What a great combo!

  5. Yes indeed, BIM has become an adjective and can be used to say all kinds of useful things: BIM strategy, BIM manager, BIM terminology ...

    And thanks for the nice words Dave. Just living my life and trying to follow a dream or two :-)

    Happy New Year everyone !


I've been getting a lot of spam so had to tighten up comments permissions. Sorry for any inconvenience. I do like to hear from real people