Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Sep 13 22:37:56 UTC 2011

On Sep 13, 2011, at 10:50 AM, James Smith wrote:

> In the context used in your example, it seems natural to me; I would read it as fixed or limited by time, able to neither overcome nor adapt to time or change, temporary, fleeting, transient.
> --- On Tue, 9/13/11, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>> Alessandra Stanley on the tv series
>> "Entourage", in the Arts section of the NYT on September
>> 12:
>> Some fans complained that "Entourage" grew stale, but
>> actually it's remarkable how fresh the series managed to
>> stay given how temporal its setting.
>> (this is from the hard copy; it's the same on-line, i now
>> see.)
>> is this a malaprop (of some kind) for "contemporary"?
>> or is there a current sense of "temporal" here i'm not aware
>> of?

ah, now i see that the intended sense is 'temporary'.  a huge number of hits clearly in this sense.  a very small sampling:

  Friendship is just a proxy representing some number of shared interests (enough to want to be “friends”) in this long list of interests that binds us together.  Some of these interests may be very temporal:  For example, this week, I might love a certain type of music or band.  Next week, I might have moved on to a different interest.

  The inverse is also true: if you feel that you aren't of much worth because you live in a trailer park, are overweight, drive a clunker, or have a bad hair day, you are allowing THINGS of a very temporal value to determine YOUR value.

  Email conversations can be kept for as long as you need them, so it suits short, medium and long-term needs. Social media is very temporal: it’s for the short-term only.

  Social media has an analytics problem. Whereas many other sources - ads, organic search, referrals, bookmarks - all drive traffic that directly converts (i.e. results in a purchase/signup action), social traffic is very temporal. Visitors from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon, et al. are known to visit a page and quickly depart.

  That's the attitude most students seem to have, and it's a fairly valid one. College is a very temporal place. You leave home, gain your independence, study madly (or not) and try to make something of yourself, all in a four year time frame.

  Such pieces are very temporal, they stay there only a few hours and their traces live on on the web.

(otherwise, the hits are for "temporal" 'having to do with things of this world' (vs. "spiritual") or for "temporal" referring to aspects of time in technical contexts or having to do with the temporal lobe of the brain.)

the use of "temporal" to convey (older) "temporary" seems to be firmly established.  doesn't seem to have made it into either compendia of errors *or* into the OED.  so it lives in some middle territory.


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