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Do tech neologisms make people angry?


The title of a piece by Tom Chatfield asks “Why do tech neologisms make people angry?”  This is the fallacy of the complex question, for he has not established that they do, and does not in the article itself.  He point to a 16th century poet who didn’t like neologisms (not particularly tech ones).

“In the 16th Century, neologisms “smelling too much of the Latin” – as the poet Richard Willes put it – were frowned upon by many.  Willes’s objects of contempt included portentous, antiques, despicable, obsequious, homicide, destructive and prodigious, all of which he labelled “ink-horn terms” – a word itself now vanished from common usage, meaning an inkwell made out of horn.”

The cue is for an article about new tech words, abbreviations and emoticons.  The author is described as “a commentator on digital culture, and the author of Netymology: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World.”

Fine, but the article is more of a romp through some modern trends rather than an analysis, and there’s little to back up the title claim that neologisms make people angry.  In his defence I might suggest that some sub-editor, rather than himself, supplied the title.  I find that some people affect disdain for Americanisms, often without realizing how many of the words they use themselves (like gadget, boss, barbecue, phoney) started out that way.  I myself find that I sometimes have to resort to Google to decipher the initials which young people use to each other.  Fortunately Mr Google invariably supplies me with a translation.  ROFLMAO.


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