Jan/Feb Word Fugitives discussion

Herewith some Word Fugitives responses I wish I'd had space for in the January/February issue of the magazine. What they were in response to was this:

Michael McWatters, of New York City, writes, "I use a computer for the better part of my waking life, and I've noticed that certain repetitive keyboard tasks are making their way into my non-computer life. For example, I recently knocked a jar off the counter, and a little voice inside yelped, 'Command-Z!' (the keyboard shortcut for Undo). Ditto for the time I accidentally ripped a page in a book. A friend mentioned that she recently lost her keys and thought, 'Command-F' (Find). There should be a term for this confusion, as it's only going to become more common."

 

Posted by mark: but have you tried to unlock your front door with the carkey clicker?

Posted by Jill: The one I want to use is the "insert" function--as in, "insert about three more hours into the day" without impacting normal needs like sleep, food etc. 

Alyssa Smith, of Dulles, VA: With those Command Fs and Command Zs, Michael McWatters is, of course, referring to his "interior macrologue."

Jeff Reed, of Wilmington, DE: Because the user needs to resort to the "F" or "Function" keys on the keyboard, it might be that "Functional Iteracy" would do. Or because it's written form is a new notational language, it might be "Keyculus" (after the notation developed by Newton now known as calculus). But, because you need to be wired to both understand and use the new notation, perhaps it's just "geekspeak."

John Marum, of Oakland, CA: Attempting computer commands in real life situations is called making imachinations.

Dylan Armstrong, of Westhersfield, CT: In referring to Michael McWatters' linguistic need, it seems that the word "compucalque" fits well. The key stroke is a direct translation of the action he would like to perform (i.e. Undo, Find, etc). Qualifying it with the "compu-" prefix speaks to the fact that the word is not from another spoken language but from the languange that we use to communicate with our computer.

Editor's note: the New Oxford American Dictionary defines "calque" as "another term for loan translation," and "loan translation" as "an expression adopted by one language from another in a more or less literally translated form."]

William M. Walsh, of Laguna Woods, CA: In response to Michael McWatters' search for a term to describe the intursion of his "virtual" world key strokes into real world actions:  ALTERKEYGO

Steve Chandler, of Galloway, NJ: Michael McWatters, and his friends, looking for real-life equivalents to the keyboard shortcuts are suffering from keystroke.


Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In