obsolete term: touch typing

Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Fri Dec 6 01:53:16 UTC 2002

> Date:    Wed, 4 Dec 2002 05:23:21 -0500
> From:    Frank Abate <abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET>
> Subject: FW: Obsolete term: touch typing
> Allan M said:
> >>
> Talking with a smart student tonight, I mentioned "touch typing" and
> she asked What's that? I explained it was typing using all of your
> fingers, without looking, what you learn in a typing class. To her,
> that was just "typing." Maybe there are no two-fingered typists left,
> to contrast "touch typing" with? <<
> I would say that this is evidence that the term is generational and
> perhaps fading, so maybe to be labeled "older" or even "obsolescent".
> But I and millions of others have it in our passive vocabulary, at
> least.  I remember touch typing courses and books, from the 50s and
> 60s.  In my high school (all boys) a typing class was required (I
> graduated in 1969).
> More evidence would be needed to nail down the status of this term.
> But this is a telling incident you're telling us, Allan.  Same kind of
> thing is happening re dial telephones (and the word "dial" re use of
> telephones), glass milk bottles (now in antique stores here, though
> still in daily use in the UK),

I've been told that half-pint milk bottles are  still used by
biologists for raising fruitflies. I don't know where the biologists
get them.

I think it was in the 1980's that I read a short piece (in New
Scientist?) about the half-pint milk bottle crisis.  Apparently, some
laboratory strains of fruit flies don't reproduce well in any other
kind of container.

 inkwells, and other such once-familiar
> aspects of our society, now fading or moribund.  Typewriters may soon
> join that list, but I still see them here and there, and there are
> some die-hard users of manual typewriters around.  One can still buy
> typewriter ribbons, maybe even at Staples, or Wal Mart.

What determines whether the word fades away, or is attached to a
replacement for the obsolete whatever?  I say "icebox" for
refrigerator.  That's uncommon enough for me to sometimes get funny
looks. But some others are common:  "glasses" for spectacles and
tumblers made of plastic, "broom" for besoms without any trace of a
broom plant.  And "cavalry" for military units which don't include
any horsemen.

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