Post-Prescriptivist Performance Piece—Piotr Pablo Paulsen SpecGram Vol CLI, No 1 Contents The Wrathful Dispersion Controversy: A Canadian Perspective—Q. Pheevr

Double-Sided Copy Theory

Teal Bissell Doggett, Candace Cardinal, Nathan Sanders, and Adam Ussishkin
University of California, Santa Cruz


For years, Copy Theory (CT) in linguistics at UCSC has been devoted

“Wordsso innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, in the hands of one who knows how to combine them!”
—Nathaniel Hawthorne

almost exclusively to Single-Sided Copy Theory (SSCT), at least within work done by the graduate student population. However, in her recent work on Xerox, Bissell (1997) demonstrated the existence of Double-Sided Copy Theory (DSCT).

Motivation for DSCT

The primary reason for the pursuit of DSCT stems from Tree Preservation (see work by Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and others), stated in its purest form below:

For every sheet, there exists one Tree that must be destructively modified.

where destructively modified is taken to mean “cut down and smashed into pulp”. For the purposes of this paper, we will assume that this is equivalent to “dead”.

While a sheet may go through more than one copy cycle (and thus, could

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”
—Jane Wagner

conceivably appear again in later application), the process is costly. Once one Side of Sheet had finished one copy cycle, it was typically sent on to the Recycling Process (RP) before it could proceed through another copy cycle. The concept of RP appears to be beyond the capacity of most native copiers.

A plausible alternative was created with the advent of DSCT, in which two Sides of a Sheet, rather than one, were passed through one copy cycle each. A single Sheet would then be available for two copy cycles before needing to be passed on to the RP. A single instance of copying in DSCT incurs half as many violations of Tree Preservation as the same amount of copying done under SSCT.

Mechanics of DSCT

DSCT has five distinct rules which must all be applied to any given instance of copying:

(1)    Document Separation
A document must be separated into [+odd] Sheets and [-odd] Sheets.
(2) Odd Sheet Copying
[+odd] Sheets are copied as under SSCT.
(3) Odd Sheet Reversal
Copies of [+odd] Sheets must be inverted and Placed in Tray 2, where inverted represents the feature complex [+face down, +upside down] (i.e. the Sheet must be oriented so that the top is closest to the user).
(4) Tray 2 Selection (Iterative)
The Paper Supply Button must be pressed until Tray 2 is selected.
(5) Even Sheet Copying
[-odd] Sheets are copied as under SSCT. [-odd] Sheets must also be [-face down, -upside down]).

“I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.”
—Emperor Charles V

These rules are crucially ordered in exactly the order given above. Failed outputs demonstrating the need for these orderings can be found in the Recycling Bin.


Bissell, Teal. 1997. How to Make Double-Sided Copies. Stevenson Trailer.

Post-Prescriptivist Performance Piece—Piotr Pablo Paulsen
The Wrathful Dispersion Controversy: A Canadian Perspective—Q. Pheevr
SpecGram Vol CLI, No 1 Contents