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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Changing my style

Back in the last millennium, someone produced an "electronic book." The term quickly got condensed, like "electronic mail" did, but the condensation never became standardized.

I thought that "eBook" looked cute, structured like "iPad" and "iPhone" (but they are trademarks and should look cute). I wrote "eBook" and published it in several books.

At some point, I decided to change to "e-book." I even went so far as to change 211 occurrences in a book before it was published.

Then I realized that eventually the hyphen would probably disappear, as "e-mail" has transitioned to "email."

And I realized that at the beginning of a sentence, "e-book" becomes "E-book," which may be construed as yet another variation, not merely the beginning of a sentence.

New words often start out as hyphenated terms, and then close-up and lose the hyphen. "Over-time" became "overtime." "Infra-red" became "infrared." Maybe "microwave" was "micro-wave."

So, it looks like the world is heading for "ebook." I'm just not ready yet. But I do write "email." Language is consistently inconsistent. Why do we have compact discs and floppy disks?


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1 comment:

  1. Rather than saying language is consistently inconsistent, I prefer to think of language as evolving and expanding. Words like iPod, iPad, Enron, and etail, are showing up in crossword puzzles, keeping the puzzle fresh and and fun. Also, compact discs are CDs, but I guess floppy disks weren't around long enough to become FDs.

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