Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 13 15:46:35 UTC 2012

On Mar 13, 2012, at 10:42 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> More than once recently, I have heard "physical" books (or "hard-copy books," or "paper-and-ink books" or "non-e-books") jocularly referred to as "brick-and-mortar books."  It's hard to Google the term, because the sequence "brick and mortar book store" gets included.
> Charlie

Reminds me of the attempt (OK, not a *serious* attempt) to generalize "acoustic" as an all-purpose retronymic modifier, whence "acoustic clocks", "acoustic mail", etc.  Didn't catch on.  Possibly the ugliest is "meat", as in "meat people" (as opposed to androids and such).  "Acoustic" is much gentler.

> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Ronald Butters [ronbutters at AOL.COM]
> Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 11:07 AM
> Subject: Re: Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> So an address book is still an address book; all that is different is =
> how the information in it is stored.
> It seems misleading to say that Amazon is attempting to "shift the =
> semantics of the term "book"--they are just responding to the subreption =
> that has already taken place. Remember that a book was once far =
> different from the bound volumes that the term came to be used for in =
> the modern era. (And, for my grandfather, a magazine was also a book, =
> though that seems somewhat anachronistic to me today.)
> =20
> An "album" of musical recordings downloaded to an iPod is still an =
> "album," even if it is not a thing made of vinyl. On the other hand, =
> referring to it as a "record" seems as anachronistic as it would be to =
> refer to a computer as a typewriter.
> On Mar 12, 2012, at 10:20 AM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>> I think "address book" has been redefined by some users to correspond
>> to an electronic database of addresses and other information. This
>> switch began years ago. Perhaps it was triggered by the "address book"
>> designation used in email programs.
>> =20
>> The advertising copy at for the Kindle reader attempts to
>> shift the semantics of the term "book" so that it refers to what was
>> recently called an "electronic book", "e-book", or "ebook". More
>> precisely, the text attempts to shift the definition of "book" so that
>> it corresponds to a proprietary Kindle-formatted electronic book.
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