Meaningless Arguments #2: What is the Difference between a Room and a Hallway? Part 1

Part 1

Welcome back to Meaningless Arguments, a series in which Thomas Stone and I definitively answer the least important questions possible.

Our new subject is: “What is the difference between a room and a hallway?”

In the first part, Thomas and I will try to perfect a single definition for “room” and ‘hallway.’ In the second part, we will further the completion of these definitions.

I will be typing in gold, while Thomas will be typing in red.

⍚: This symbol is to be used if one of us wants to interrupt the other.

Adam: I gave my definition first last time, so why don’t you present your argument first?

Thomas: Okay, so a hallway is a special kind of room. A hallway is a room, a segment of a building designed to connect rooms together and provide easy transportation from one room to another.

A: Can rooms that would not be traditionally be classified as hallways not connect directly to each other in a manner that allows for the transportation of people and objec⍚

T: Give an example of a room that will not be traditionally classified as a hallway.

A: The kitchen at my house is connected to our family room and ou⍚

T: I see your point, but that is ignoring the fact that it is the special purpose of a hallway to connect rooms. It has very little other purpose; rooms are allowed to connect to each other, but they have other purposes.

A: Is the purpose of the hallways at a school simply for communication, though? What of the lockers? The hallways are a place to store lockers and therefore goods.

T: The reason why lockers are in hallways is because they recognize that a high schoo⍚

A: Who’s “they?”

T: “They” are “they,” an arbitrary pronoun to describe unknown principals, deans, managers, salesmen, and other folk, who, through joint collaboration over a period of time, reached said conclusion, which is, if I may be allowed to finish, that they recognized that high school students – nay, even middle school students – require more efficient form of storage than a cubby in homeroom. Thus, they put it in an artery of transportation and movement to allow for quick access and movement from the lockers.

A: I would like to propose a second definition. A hallway differs from a room in the following ways: Its elongated shape allows it to connect to multiple “side rooms.” These rooms needn’t be entirely separate from each other, like in a hotel suite, but they generally are. A hallway becomes a hallway when it is connected to multiple rooms without being a room itself. I propose we discuss the definition of a room before we go any further.

T: Well, a room is a dedicated, usually partitioned area of a house for some specific function. For example, a kitchen is to cook, a family room is to sit down, talk, and watch entertainments, and a spare bedroom is to store junk in.

A: I do not intend to contest any of the purposes you have assigned each variety of room, as they were examples, but I do contest that “dedication for a purpose” would apply as easily to hallways, unless you intend to say that a hallway is a room with the purpose of communication.

T: That was, and is, my point exactly. You do not call a kitchen a “cooking room,” you call it a “kitchen.” The hallway has been dedicated to the purpose of providing a transportation artery. It has become almost its own thing, but in the end, it is a room of sorts. We have, over time, perfected hallway architecture to the elongated shape we all know and love.

A: Do you claim that the shape and the function are not connected?

T: They are connected, but not the same. The hallway is elongated because its function demands it; in theory, I suppose a hallway does not need to be, but a true hallway is.

A: What is the distinction between mere “hallway” and “true hallway?”

T: A “base hallway,” as it shall be known, is simply a room with the primary function of connecting rooms. It could be squared, multi-story, or whatever pleases the architect. Yet “true hallways” fulfill the function the best. Its single-story, elongated design easily allows for transport and segmentation. You start to divide things into wings based on a multi-story collection of aligned hallways. Then the floors become known by their hallways, and someone will always devise a name of their own from some extra dedication.

A: On a different subject, does the definition allow for fluidity? For instance, can what a room is or what a hallway is change over time?

T: Sorry, but no. We use the word “hallway” to refer to a specific idea. Though the word’s meaning might change, we are using words to express ideas about what the idea of a hallway is.

In the next part of “Meaningless Arguments,” Adam will rephrase his question to actually try to make a point. When we are finished, we will have the most concrete definitions of “room” and “hallway” you have ever seen.

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