Ghosts of Technology Past

“If filming yourself singing along to Romanian techno-pop is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” This was me, in a discussion yesterday, in which the “Numa Numa Kid” was mentioned.

Then I was thinking…”filming yourself”…the artist in question used no film; he recorded himself via a webcam. All digital. Like a good number of cameras these days, and even instruments used to make movies. Is talking about “filming” something going to someday soon join the list of words and phrases that refer to outdated technology? Things like:

“I know I sound like a broken record…”

“…turn to a different station…”

“I taped that show so I could watch it later.”

“I was just about to dial the phone…”

“I was going to tune into that…”

I read an article the other day (it wasn’t online) that was talking about how technology, especially the internet, is changing language, that linguists are able to observe, as they happen, things usually just referred to as happening in the past. It was strange for me to look at a casual phrase and be able to almost see it fading into obscurity.

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2 Responses to Ghosts of Technology Past

  1. Kurt says:

    There is a term, which I can’t recall, for words that get dropped or changed because of what is common. The example is ‘wireless remote’. If someone has a remote control, it’s assumed to be wireless now, but at one point it was assumed to be wired (with a cable to the unit).

  2. Mrs. Mancer says:

    On a related note, check out http://www.m-w.com/info/new_words.htm, especially “retronym”:

    retronym (noun) 1980 : a term consisting of a noun and a modifier which specifies the original meaning of the noun [“film camera” is a ~]