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Coining new terms - when do we go too far?

Using 'spim' to refer to instant message spam.

     
11:56 pm on Nov 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I classify myself as a writer, so I know how important it is to make things punchy and interesting. It's important to use words that attract attention, that people can relate to, and that are both creative and descriptive (without being too flip or jargon-y).

So as a writer, I bristle when it seems like someone coins a new term just because they can.

An article [washingtonpost.com] at the Washington Post website is using the word "spim" to refer to spam that is sent via instant messaging.

They don't claim to have coined the term - but in the article, the word "spim" is used interchangably with the phrase "instant messaging spam."

We don't use "spasem" to differentiate search engine spamming ... the word "spam" seems to be descriptive enough. I hope "spim" never catches on.

12:08 am on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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C'mon, Hawkgirl, join in the fun and coin a distinctive term of your own. :) I do admit that "spim" is a bit annoying...

I'm still waiting for inbox sludge [google.com]TM to catch on. ;)

9:00 am on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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spasem

...that's just silly.

Surely everybody knows the correct term is sepam. ;)

9:10 am on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>without being too flip or jargon-y

All writers occasionally fall victim to the dreaded "clever" disease. "Look ma, ain't I clever? Look how well I write". Reminds me of the M*A*S*H episode in which Radar wants to be a writer.

And why do people coin new words? Why don't they mint them? ;)

1:58 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> And why do people coin new words? Why don't they mint them?

Who knows, but at least both "coin" and "mint" are real words. At least we don't enword new words.

2:05 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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2:07 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just saw a post at another site referring to "skiddies" (as an abbreviation for script kiddies). I'm coming around to your POV, Hawkgirl...
2:30 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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at least both "coin" and "mint" are real words

I am picturing a literary curmudgeon from several hundred(?) years ago, muttering about these crazy new words such as coin and mint.

2:46 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hawkgirl, How come 'spam' is OK. surely someone coined that.. just because they could... and quite recently
2:49 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Me writer too.

Hey, the Bard invented almost as many words as Montaigne used in all of his essays. We're talking about 1700 words.

Words become used because people use them, not because they get coined.

Fault word virus. I personally don't like what I consider misuse of common terms.

For example, prior to the late 70s the term "like" was never used as a universal breath-filler. Now you can estimate ages of speakers by its use.

Duh, and so forth. Methinks "too far" is in the ear of the auditor. (Or reader, for readers do hear.)

Cheers, S

3:10 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've always referred to it as 'content'
3:34 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You are going to love this. /. just ran the post article using "spimming is latest online annoyance" as the headline.
3:37 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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In light of Hawkgirl's original post, I suppose that headline would be a double entendre. :)
3:41 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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New one - for all unsolicited missives recieved by any means:

SPIT

3:59 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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when do we go too far?

How about when we get to SPERM - Spam with sticky content ;)

4:15 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Here's a new term for the records -- "blue jacking"

It's the (rather adolescent) practice of spamming people via bluetooth-enabled phones, but when I first read the term I had an altogether different notion.

Such is the problem with coining new terms...

PS: "spam" existed before the Internet -- it's packaged in a can.

4:20 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It's great to do something that's evolving daily.

And that involves new words since words are used as abbreviations for thoughts. If something has to be used often it's good to have a word for it.

"Hand me over the steel blade attached to a piece of wood so I can cut this stuff made of yeast, wheat, salt and water"

I doubt we need "SPIM", though.

5:46 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Come on, we all know spim is a perfectly cromulent word.
5:50 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"SPERM", "blue jacking"... Egad.

One day, all will be ruled by pron.

6:00 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree, although one could argue it's always been that way --

I mean, really...
cockpit, joystick, hardware, software, hard drive, floppy drive

The tech field(s) have always seemed to gravitate to terminology that, if not blatantly, then subliminally leads us back to -- as you put it, pron.

6:28 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The word pr0n is already used heavily... in fact, I think it was started on Efnet.

-panic

6:30 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Fscking pr0n rulez d00ds!
6:41 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Since it's somewhat related --

Google has a "hacker-speak" version of itself, which I've always been tempted to locally redirect (via HOSTS entry) requests for Google.com to as a practical joke. ;)

htt*://www.google.com/intl/xx-hacker/

(It's work-safe; I don't know why there's an 'xx' in the directory name)

7:20 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cute...

The G hacksite has a page rank of 9....

HEY...page rank.....p..rank....PRANK

kewl!

Goober

7:23 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> I am picturing a literary curmudgeon from several hundred(?) years ago, muttering about these crazy new words such as coin and mint.

Good point. Language has to evolve, and there will always be new words to describe new ideas.

But when do you draw the line? Sometimes it seems like people coin new words because they have a limited vocabulary. English is a rich language; the Internet is even richer for the fact that it reflects languages from all over the world. Let's use some of the words that we already have!

7:57 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Let's use some of the words that we already have!

Such as using given names on forums instead of nicks, Hawkgirl? ;)

8:10 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"Let's use some of the words that we already have!"

I agree. Further, let's start spelling them correctly. Pet peeve: "Loose" for "lose" and all its variations. I constantly see this misspelling used in forums and can't help but think "What a looser!"

Wayne

9:32 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There are a few internet projects devoted to creating new words.

'Nuff said. Back to my McJob.

9:35 pm on Nov 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I want to know how to get a job, or start a business, making up buzzwords that people in business and government use to avoid communicating any meaning.

win-win situation, paradigm shift, etc.

A decade ago I was at a conference where every presentation started with some use fo the term "paradigm shift". Finally, one speaker, without mentioning the term, flashed up a slide that said:

You know what they say about paradigms:
SHIFT HAPPENS

The term was not used again.

2:16 am on Nov 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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For example, prior to the late 70s the term "like" was never used as a universal breath-filler. Now you can estimate ages of speakers by its use.

You obviously haven't lived in Birmingham (UK not Alabama)

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