Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 17 19:00:09 UTC 2011

I can recall from my high-school days (late '60s)  being warned
against using this sense of "feedback" because it was ignorant and
confusing, real "feedback" being something that usually interfered
with communication.

To me, the use of the indefinite article sounds okay but archaic.

1965 _Post-Standard_ [Syracuse. N.Y.] (Jan. 21) 6 [NewspArch]: As
underprivileged children learn to talk and develop an interest in
language, they need feedback from their environment.

1967 _Port Angeles [Wash.] Eve. News_ (Feb. 8) 1 [NewspArch]: I
haven't received a lot of comment on the editorial so far...but I may
get some feedback during the week.


On Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 11:30 AM, Joseph Salmons <jsalmons at wisc.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Joseph Salmons <jsalmons at WISC.EDU>
> Subject:      'feedback'
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A friend asked about the history of recent meanings of 'feedback'. OED has the technical meaning from the 1920s and meanings from the 1960s and 1970s that are getting close, notably a 1971 quote "We began to get a fairly good feedback from most people who know about it and it looked as though the concerts would be good scenes". (Note the indefinite article, which is utterly ungrammatical for me at least.) And I didn't see anything in the ADS-L archives. From culturomics.org (http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+feedback%2C+feedback&year_start=1930&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3), it looks like it's had a pretty steady overall rise in usage.
> Does anybody know the chronology of the semantic development here, or other bits of the history?
> Thanks,
> Joe
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list