Language

It was hard to fit this into one of Joe’s categories, so I put in “Current News”.  I currently hear this sort of thing in the news.  Does anyone else twitch a little bit when hearing that someone or other “taped” or “video taped” this or that, or that we’re about to be shown video “footage” of something that happened long after the 1990s?


Where do you buy the little videotape cassettes that fit into your mobile phone?  How often do you change reels in your digital camera?  Where do you get them developed?


What’s to be the replacement term for “footage”?  Bitage?  Bytage?  How about “video”?  “I got this or that on camera (or on video)” certainly works.  I didn’t tape it– but I did record it and it’s on my flash drive.  If the cops come after you for videotaping them, maybe it’s because they hate outdated technology.  Ever thought of that?


Do we need some different terms, do we need simply to think about what we’re saying, or should we forget and submit?  There are terms and sayings that linger well past the time when their original meanings were widely understood.  “Flash in the pan” comes to mind.  We still might say that someone is “letting off steam” but how many today understand that a steam engine might sometimes need to let off steam to avoid over-pressuring the boiler, so as to avoid a boiler explosion?  It used to be that boiler explosions were a much more common problem, so when someone was said to be letting off steam it was understood to be the more preferable among possible outcomes.

8 thoughts on “Language

  1. And then there is the whole “dialing” a phone.

    and how can you “hang up” your cell phone when you are done with the call you “dialed”?

  2. This is just a unavoidable side effect of the change in technology and, more specifically, the ever increasing switch from analog to digital in many categories.

    I don’t think a change in terminology is needed. When the current language, such as “footage” or “rewind” is used, it is understood, even though the data may be captured on a media that does not have physical tape to measure by the foot or rewind back onto a spool. Changing the language to match the technology would actually increase the confusion.

    And, in some cases, you can have digital media that still uses type. News stations still use physical video tape for many purposes so “footage” may very well be literally accurate, as well as descriptively accurate.

  3. “Crawled out from under a rock” is still a well understood term, although it hasn’t applied to the predecessors of humanity for some time.

    As for audiovisual recordings, I try to stick with “moving pictures” and “talkies” to enhance my “grumpy old guy” cred.

  4. I always make a point of rewinding my DVD’s before returning them to the library/Netflix/etc. 😉

  5. Until we as a society create a new way of speaking about digital recording then we’ll continue to use the terms that are already familiar to us. One example of this type of language creation, which happens constantly, is “high-capacity” magazines in semi-automatic pistols. “High-capacity” doesn’t really exist any more. The Glock 17 is designed to hold 17 rounds, as is the Ruger SR9. The Springfield XDm9 is designed to hold 19 rounds. They use standard-capacity magazines, unless you’re in California then they use reduced-capacity magazines. The only gun company that appears to be using this type of terminology is Smith & Wesson. Rather than using terms such as high or low capacity, more specific terms would bee extended, standard or reduced, based on my above example.

    As for digital video recording, until a new word or description is created (as all words are created), most people will continue to use “taped” or “filmed.” You can simply say “recorded” but that isn’t ver specific. Was it a voice recording or a video recording? Until the new language is created by the industry or the users, the old language will continue to be used because we have no other way to describe it.

  6. Not surprised the 1st comment was about ‘dialing’ the phone. Usage simply gets entrenched. How many people are calling the box they connect to for internet access a ‘modem’? Using a keyboard to interact with a computer isn’t really ‘typing’ either.

    I’m all in favor of hanging on to anachronistic terminology. Confusing the youngsters is just another tactic we older folks can employ to our advantage.

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