Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon

Ronald Butters ronbutters at AOL.COM
Tue Mar 13 15:34:33 UTC 2012

What you say makes a lot of sense only if one compares only parts of the old and new meanings of "house" with parts of the old and new meaning of "album." (I would quarrel with you on the one hand by noting that "record album" is archaic, in that "record" is archaic, so you are kinda loading the dice a bit.) If one defines "album" as something like 'audio collection of recorded music or other forms of entertainment," then that the idea of an "album" has not changed very much. Similarly, if you define "house" as 'dwelling', then  the idea of a "house" hasn't changed much either. But it is not very meaningful to compare the core meaning of the one with the expanded meaning of the other (ignoring  for now he theoretical question of just what constitutes a "core" meaning, or if that is even possible).

If I say to you, "I bought a new opera album last week," the image that comes to mind in 3012 is vastly different from the image that would have come to mind in 1970, but the "core" meaning will still be there.

If I say to you "Colin moved to a new house last year," aspects of the "core" meaning will be the same whether it is uttered in 2012 or 1612, but the image that would come to mind for the hearer would be quite different. (I'm ignoring the irrelevant question of whether "moved to" would have been idiomatic in the earlier 17th century). The 16th-century cottage that you liked to has vast differences with a double-wide, an airstream trailer, a mansion, a row house, a 12th-floor condominium, etc.; but I could mean any of these things if I said, "I'm having a party at my house, and I'd like you to come."

In other words, the subreption of the two words is vast, though important "vestigial" meanings have been kept for both--meanings that people would (I think) not find "obviated."

On Mar 12, 2012, at 1:29 PM, Martin Kaminer wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Ronald Butters <ronbutters at AOL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Don't you think the 16th century sense of a "house" has become pretty =
>> much vestigial, if not obviated completely?
> Not to the same extent as a 'record album' in the age of iTunes, or a
> few years hence.  Here's a 16th Century house
>  One can compare many
> components of it to those of my house, which was built in the last few
> years. Not sure what's vestigial or obviated about the object itself.
> Regarding the word I did a bit of cursory peering through 17th and
> 16th Century dictionaries, such as they are, and didn't see much in
> terms of the definition that differs greatly from the contemporary.
> If I missed something please do tell.
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