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Are primes brighter and sharper than wide open zooms



 
 
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  #121  
Old October 2nd 05, 10:02 PM
Floyd Davidson
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"Peter" wrote:
Floyd Davidson wrote:

It does not necessarily have to be that one grew out of the
other. However, I *don't* see them as totally unrelated.


Ok, I'll bite. What relationship do you see between the term
"prime lens" used to mean the main lens as opposed to a supplementary
lens or attachment, and the term "prime lens" used to mean a
fixed focal length lens?


Clearly that came about because fixed focal lenses are
typically, for any given price better lenses than a similarly
priced zoom lens. Prime of course can mean the one which is the
first in quality, or the first in favor, or the first to be
used, or "primitive" as in the least complex.

It is just an extension of the concept that a "normal" or
"standard" lens is called a "prime lens". And since there are
already at least two very good terms for that meaning, it does
seem rather natural for the meaning of "prime" to migrate to a
somewhat broader scope.

Rather, it is a logical progression.


Again, what is the logical connection between the two?


Again... (You are aware of the various meanings of prime and of
how these various terms have been used in this field, right?)

And the newer meaning
does not necessarily negate correctness of the older meaning
any more than and older meaning makes a new one incorrect.


Of course. Though having a word with multiple meanings or
an unclear meaning within a technical lexicon could create
problems. That's part of why I think "prime lens" in the
sense of "fixed focal length" while a useful bit of slang until
someone comes up with something better, shouldn't be regarded
as a part of the proper technical vocabulary of photography.


Well, until some other term comes along, you don't have any
choice. The *fact* is that is is here, today. And it probably
won't be going away any time soon either.

So? I could probably come up with a single paragraph that used
at least 4 or 5 different meanings for the word "prime".


It would be interesting to see such a paragraph in which
at least four out of the five uses had no obvious connection
to the concept of "first" indicated by the word "prime."
I would like to see you try.


Why would it have to be where four out of five have no
connection to the etymology of the word? The use of the word to
mean "fixed focal length" has it roots in that. Your merely
proposing a ridiculous shift of the goal posts.

Does
that make the more recently evolved meanings incorrect just
because there is also an older meaning?


No, but creating additional meanings for an existing technical
term could be a problem.


A lot of things "could be a problem". So what?

*Not* creating some such term would definitely be a problem.

It makes a lot of sense to deprecate
the use of a new meaning for a technical term if it is seen as
beginning to erode the usefulness of the established
technical use of the term.


You are welcome to try, but tilting at windmills, barking at the
moon, and a number of other similar activities would be more
productive.

Language just doesn't work that way. As the late Steve Allen
used to say on TV about timing being everything in comedy,
context is everything in word usage.


Right, if context is not actually everything, it is a lot of it.
I've got no strong objection to "prime lens" as a handy bit
of slang to refer to fixed focal length lenses, but if it starts
to look as if some people are treating it as if it were a proper
part of the technical lexicon then it may be time to object.


Wrong. That is when it is already far too late to object. All
you get then is someone like me making fun of you for refusing
to accept reality... :-)

It's a done deal. We might as well get used to it.

I'll grant that if you had asked me 20-30 years ago if I thought
it would be a good idea to use that term in that way, *I* would
have been on your side at that time. But undoing history isn't
something I'm up to. But that happens with a lot of words. For
example, I really really wish that "hacker" was not equated with
"cracker" the way it is today. But it is. And on a more
technical note, we hear about high speed T1 or T3 lines in the
telephone industry all the time... and almost every time you
hear someone say T1 or T3 what they are talking about is a DS1
or a DS3. We live with it though...

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
  #123  
Old October 2nd 05, 11:44 PM
Jeremy Nixon
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Floyd Davidson wrote:

And now you have what used to be a perfectly good term, "prime lens", that,
having become ambiguous, is now *useless* for *either* of the meanings we
are talking about here. It is a dead term. It can't be used to mean


Why would you say that? Prime had several meanings long before
this happened, and yet you say it was not ambiguous then but is
now???? That's not logical.


I refer to the term "prime lens", not "prime". "Prime lens" is a specific
enough term that it can have only one useful meaning in one technical
field; were that not the case, this very discussion would not be happening.

This is in some contrast with another dead term, "zoom lens", which has
for all intents and purposes entirely lost its real meaning and had it
replaced. This is also pure entropy -- there were two terms that meant
two different things, and now they both mean the same thing -- but it
can be used with its new meaning without a discussion like this ensuing.

You need to look up the word "evolution" and find out what it
means.


"The process of unrolling, opening out, or disengaging from an envelope."

Hmm, no, probably not that one. No, I'm not being facetious; it's worth
noting that terms having very different meanings in different contexts does
not cause any particular problem; the problem arises when the two meanings
exist in the *same* context. As with "prime lens", and "zoom lens" before
it.

And as to whether change is "a good thing", that is subjective and your
opinion that it is not really isn't worth a plugged nickel. (Neither is
mine, so don't be upset that the world continues to turn even if we don't
like it.)


Well, I would find it difficult to appreciate an argument that brutally
removing things from the language can have any positive effect.

The changes made by marketing people, for example, are always bad.


As a guy who worked my whole life in Operations (and never
stopped making fun of Marketing), even I have to tell you that
you've over stated the case there.


Can you think of any change to the language perpetrated by marketing
that was good?

Some words: awesome, amazing, astounding, incredible, unbelievable. All
of these words now mean "very good". That's stupid. There is nothing
good about that; it has removed meaning and variety from the language
and not replaced it with anything of equal value.

--
Jeremy |
  #124  
Old October 3rd 05, 12:24 AM
Peter
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Floyd Davidson wrote:
"Peter" wrote:
Floyd Davidson wrote:

It does not necessarily have to be that one grew out of the
other. However, I *don't* see them as totally unrelated.


Ok, I'll bite. What relationship do you see between the term
"prime lens" used to mean the main lens as opposed to a supplementary
lens or attachment, and the term "prime lens" used to mean a
fixed focal length lens?


Clearly that came about because fixed focal lenses are
typically, for any given price better lenses than a similarly
priced zoom lens.


You say "clearly" but the origin of the term really seems to
be pretty murky.

The slang use of "prime lens" for "fixed focal length" appears
to have originated in the professional cine industry. And while
the early pro cine zooms were rather flare-prone they didn't
have anywhere near the performance compromises of the amateur
cine and still-camera zooms of the 1960s.

Other possible hypotheses a

1) Afocal zoom attachments used to be available which would
convert a fixed focal length lens into a zoom. In that case
the base lens would have been a "prime lens" in the more
orthodox terminology and the name could then have stuck.

2) Fixed focal length lenses could have been primary at
one point simply because the studio or production company
owned a lot more of them and thus could be the default
when a zoom lens was not specifically needed.

Prime of course can mean the one which is the
first in quality, or the first in favor, or the first to be
used, or "primitive" as in the least complex.


The explanation that they are less complex and thus
"prime" seems possible. There appear to be many possible
reasons for the name, but so far no one appears to have
provided documentation or a really strong argument to
indicate how it started. The name seems to be in use
because people hear or read others using the term and
it catches on, and not because there is any widespread
agreement about exactly why they are "prime."



And the newer meaning
does not necessarily negate correctness of the older meaning
any more than and older meaning makes a new one incorrect.


Of course. Though having a word with multiple meanings or
an unclear meaning within a technical lexicon could create
problems. That's part of why I think "prime lens" in the
sense of "fixed focal length" while a useful bit of slang until
someone comes up with something better, shouldn't be regarded
as a part of the proper technical vocabulary of photography.


Well, until some other term comes along, you don't have any
choice. The *fact* is that is is here, today. And it probably
won't be going away any time soon either.


I'm not objecting to the slang use of the term. It is convenient.
The convenience alone justifies its use as slang. I do object
to the idea that it has, through use, achieved status as part
of the standard photographic vocabulary.

So? I could probably come up with a single paragraph that used
at least 4 or 5 different meanings for the word "prime".


It would be interesting to see such a paragraph in which
at least four out of the five uses had no obvious connection
to the concept of "first" indicated by the word "prime."
I would like to see you try.


Why would it have to be where four out of five have no
connection to the etymology of the word? The use of the word to
mean "fixed focal length" has it roots in that. Your merely
proposing a ridiculous shift of the goal posts.


I don't think I'm shifting goal posts. I'm not asking for four
uses which have no possible connection to "first," but only for
four uses where the nature of the connection is obscure.

Does
that make the more recently evolved meanings incorrect just
because there is also an older meaning?


No, but creating additional meanings for an existing technical
term could be a problem.


A lot of things "could be a problem". So what?


Ask someone in any other technical field, or even in optics
whether the technical vocabulary of their field should
shift in such a fashion.


*Not* creating some such term would definitely be a problem.


Leaving it understood as a common slang term would seem
to fit our actual needs just fine.


It makes a lot of sense to deprecate
the use of a new meaning for a technical term if it is seen as
beginning to erode the usefulness of the established
technical use of the term.


You are welcome to try, but tilting at windmills, barking at the
moon, and a number of other similar activities would be more
productive.


As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, there have been
cases in the history of photography where a once popular
misuse of a technical term has been corrected. The
example I gave was the common early 20th century tendency
to use "depth of focus" when what was really meant was
"depth of field."

Right, if context is not actually everything, it is a lot of it.
I've got no strong objection to "prime lens" as a handy bit
of slang to refer to fixed focal length lenses, but if it starts
to look as if some people are treating it as if it were a proper
part of the technical lexicon then it may be time to object.


Wrong. That is when it is already far too late to object. All
you get then is someone like me making fun of you for refusing
to accept reality... :-)


There's no point in objecting to slang when it is used as such.
The slowly creaping respectability of the term is a relatively
recent phenomenon. I have dozens of books about photography,
only one, published in 2000, contains "prime lens" in the sense
of "fixed focal length lens." It would be interesting if someone
could dig up the earliest print uses in photography books.


It's a done deal. We might as well get used to it.

I'll grant that if you had asked me 20-30 years ago if I thought
it would be a good idea to use that term in that way, *I* would
have been on your side at that time. But undoing history isn't
something I'm up to. But that happens with a lot of words. For
example, I really really wish that "hacker" was not equated with
"cracker" the way it is today. But it is.


By newspapers, by the general public, but not by the people
who stay up to early morning doing interesting things on
computers for recreation. A hacker knows what the word means
and knows that it's the newspapers and general public who
have it wrong.

And on a more
technical note, we hear about high speed T1 or T3 lines in the
telephone industry all the time... and almost every time you
hear someone say T1 or T3 what they are talking about is a DS1
or a DS3. We live with it though...


I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with the field to comment
much, but based on what you say, it would seem that T1 is sometimes
used as slang when DS1 is the correct designation for that line.
If so, this would seem to be a good example of the difference
between correct terminolgy and slang use.

Peter.
--


  #125  
Old October 3rd 05, 01:29 AM
Chris Brown
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In article ,
Jeremy Nixon wrote:

Can you think of any change to the language perpetrated by marketing
that was good?


To pick a random example, we have the verb "to hoover", which avoids
overloading the noun, "vacuum" by turning it into a verb.

Or for something more modern, and with more international currency, try "to
google" - much more managable than "to search the Internet".

There's also an endless list of names of foodstuff, introduced into the
language through marketing exercises, which are useful and inoffensive.
Sundae, Stilton (never been made there, AFAIK), Creme-brulee, etc..

Some words: awesome, amazing, astounding, incredible, unbelievable. All
of these words now mean "very good". That's stupid. There is nothing
good about that; it has removed meaning and variety from the language


That variety still exists - if a concept is useful, there will be words to
express it. In the cases above, for words or phrases which convey the
"original" meaning, I'd offer the following:

For awesome, try awe-inspiring.
For amazing, try astonishing
I don't agree that "astounding" has "lost" its meaning - perhaps this is a
British English/American English difference?
Incredible - not-credible
Unbelievable - not-believable
  #126  
Old October 3rd 05, 02:38 AM
Jeremy Nixon
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Posts: n/a
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Chris Brown wrote:

Can you think of any change to the language perpetrated by marketing
that was good?


To pick a random example, we have the verb "to hoover", which avoids
overloading the noun, "vacuum" by turning it into a verb.


Wow... I've never heard the verb "to hoover". I think my ears might bleed
if I did. (I'm sure the folks at the Hoover company wouldn't be too
happy about it, either.)

As for "vacuum" being verbed, that is not a recent development; it seems
to have been used as such for about as long as vacuum cleaners have
existed, and I'm not sure it originated with marketing. In any case,
the earliest example in OED of "vacuum" as a verb is from 1922, while
the noun colloquially meaning "vacuum cleaner" dates back to 1910. I'd
rather see "vacuum cleaner" used formally (as would the nice folks at
Oxford), but "vacuum" doesn't bother me much; it beats "to hoover" by a
country mile, at least.

Or for something more modern, and with more international currency, try "to
google" - much more managable than "to search the Internet".


I really hope that one never makes it past pop-culture slang.

It is worth noting, in that case, that the word "google" actually has
another meaning, one that has almost certainly already been destroyed
beyond hope of recovery.

--
Jeremy |
  #127  
Old October 3rd 05, 04:10 AM
Peter
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Chris Brown wrote:


For awesome, try awe-inspiring.
For amazing, try astonishing
I don't agree that "astounding" has "lost" its meaning - perhaps this is a
British English/American English difference?
Incredible - not-credible
Unbelievable - not-believable



One of my strongest memories from reading H.G. Wells'
The Time Machine when I was about 10 or 11 was the
way he used the word "incredible" it was immediately
obvious from the context that he really meant it.

I do not think I had read the word used in its strong
sense before. It has left me with a conviction that
words can be rescued. Perhaps the word did not yet
need to be rescued in 1898 when the book was first
published, but it certainly did in 1978, and for me
the word was restored to its proper meaning as soon
as I read it.

To my mind, "not-credible" is a weak work-around for
a word that has lost its former power, and I'd much
rather read "incredible" from someone capable of
writing in a way which shows that he really means it.

Peter.
--


  #128  
Old October 3rd 05, 05:26 AM
Floyd Davidson
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"Peter" wrote:
Floyd Davidson wrote:
"Peter" wrote:
Floyd Davidson wrote:

It does not necessarily have to be that one grew out of the
other. However, I *don't* see them as totally unrelated.

Ok, I'll bite. What relationship do you see between the term
"prime lens" used to mean the main lens as opposed to a supplementary
lens or attachment, and the term "prime lens" used to mean a
fixed focal length lens?


Clearly that came about because fixed focal lenses are
typically, for any given price better lenses than a similarly
priced zoom lens.


You say "clearly" but the origin of the term really seems to
be pretty murky.


The origin may be murky, but the reason it caught on and stuck is
perhaps not.

The slang use of "prime lens" for "fixed focal length" appears
to have originated in the professional cine industry. And while
the early pro cine zooms were rather flare-prone they didn't
have anywhere near the performance compromises of the amateur
cine and still-camera zooms of the 1960s.


None of which is significant. That does *not* explain why it
became a common usage.

Other possible hypotheses a

1) Afocal zoom attachments used to be available which would
convert a fixed focal length lens into a zoom. In that case
the base lens would have been a "prime lens" in the more
orthodox terminology and the name could then have stuck.

2) Fixed focal length lenses could have been primary at
one point simply because the studio or production company
owned a lot more of them and thus could be the default
when a zoom lens was not specifically needed.


I can't imagine that either of those was a great influence,
though both may have had some insignificant but measurable
effect.

Prime of course can mean the one which is the
first in quality, or the first in favor, or the first to be
used, or "primitive" as in the least complex.


The explanation that they are less complex and thus
"prime" seems possible. There appear to be many possible
reasons for the name,


I think the point, though, is that the meaning of the word
as it existed at the time made people feel comfortable with
the extension of it into new ground.

but so far no one appears to have
provided documentation or a really strong argument to
indicate how it started. The name seems to be in use
because people hear or read others using the term and
it catches on, and not because there is any widespread
agreement about exactly why they are "prime."


Exactly. It isn't in common usage because of where it started,
or because it was obvious or strongly supported by some
particular lobby (such as marketing). It's just a case of it
being so close in meaning, so convenient, and sounding good,
that it "rings true" and people remember it and use it
themselves. Bingo, a new usage catches on.

Since the advent of national TV in the late 1950's, this has
been a fairly common occurrence in common language, but in
technical fields it had become common even before then, as we
came into the age of technology.

My field is communications (and keep in mind that photography is
in many ways a communications technology), and I've always been
fascinated by the peripheral effects that basic changes in
communications technology have had on society. In that respect,
I saw TV come to the Seattle area when I was a kid, and then I
saw it again in Alaska when my children were small. And I also
watched, as a young adult, the effect of things like Direct
Distance Dialing; and then again later I was part and parcel of
bringing widespread telecommunications and computer networking
to much of Alaska.

Language evolution is one aspect in a much larger topology of
the evolution of society as the technology of communications has
advanced.

I'm not objecting to the slang use of the term. It is convenient.
The convenience alone justifies its use as slang. I do object
to the idea that it has, through use, achieved status as part
of the standard photographic vocabulary.


Well... a short review of what google turns up suggests that
objecting is a waste of time. Tilting at windmills... ;-)

So? I could probably come up with a single paragraph that used
at least 4 or 5 different meanings for the word "prime".

It would be interesting to see such a paragraph in which
at least four out of the five uses had no obvious connection
to the concept of "first" indicated by the word "prime."
I would like to see you try.


Why would it have to be where four out of five have no
connection to the etymology of the word? The use of the word to
mean "fixed focal length" has it roots in that. Your merely
proposing a ridiculous shift of the goal posts.


I don't think I'm shifting goal posts. I'm not asking for four
uses which have no possible connection to "first," but only for
four uses where the nature of the connection is obscure.


Why though? That *is* the common thread that runs through
various meanings of prime. I have never claimed, and see no
point it any attempt to prove, that there are *any* meanings for
"prime" which are not related to "first".

That is just trivia, and insignificant.

Does
that make the more recently evolved meanings incorrect just
because there is also an older meaning?

No, but creating additional meanings for an existing technical
term could be a problem.


A lot of things "could be a problem". So what?


Ask someone in any other technical field, or even in optics
whether the technical vocabulary of their field should
shift in such a fashion.


Look, I'm a techie geek type of guy, who is retired after
working for 4 decades in the communications industry. *You* are
going to tell *me* about shifting technical vocabulary???? If
you can, then we could compare notes... but if you want to "ask
someone in any other technical field", rest assured you did.

I can remember working with a fellow in the mid-1960s who had a
really good story about that... He was a retired Navy Chief,
who'd been in Fire Control before WWII, and retired in the mid
1950's. You wanna talk about shifting technical vocabulary!
*Everything* to do with Fire Control changed. When he signed
on, it was all mechanical. When he retired, is was all
electronics.

His best joke was about trying to order a "soldering iron" to
work on electronics in about 1946, and being unable to get
supply people to realize that he did *not* want a plumber's
soldering iron. He also said that just about everyone was
positive that anybody who dealt with the stuff they did was some
kind of weirdo, with a social disease or something. Highly
suspect, at a minimum.

Of course in the 1960's when I worked with that fellow we were
using vacuum tubes in computers, radios, and particle
accelerators!

Virtually the entire vocabulary used today in almost any
industry using electronics *didn't exist* in 1965, and was
created between then and 1985. And now has been in place for 20
years, and people think of it as *old* and carved in stone! But
pull out a resistor that has colored *dots* to identify it, and
is 3/4 of an inch long with wire leads that wrap around each
end, and ask someone if they could solder it into a circuit...
and you'll 1) have a hard time finding anyone with solder and an
iron, and even if they do, they will 2) ask you what in
tarnation that thing is, because 3) they've never seen nor heard
of such a resistor. Heck, in the 1970's most electronics
technicians couldn't identify many parts from WWII equipment
because the technology had changed so fast. Today of course they
can't identify *most* parts from back then.

Photography and optics has changed relatively slowly by
comparison. Perhaps that's why you are uncomfortable with the
evolution of words, and to me that is just one more fascinating
aspect of communications.

*Not* creating some such term would definitely be a problem.


Leaving it understood as a common slang term would seem
to fit our actual needs just fine.


That statement doesn't make sense. Just try coming up with
a clear division of what is "common slang" and what is not.
Ask 20 people... you'll get 25 different answers?

It makes a lot of sense to deprecate
the use of a new meaning for a technical term if it is seen as
beginning to erode the usefulness of the established
technical use of the term.


You are welcome to try, but tilting at windmills, barking at the
moon, and a number of other similar activities would be more
productive.


As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, there have been
cases in the history of photography where a once popular
misuse of a technical term has been corrected. The
example I gave was the common early 20th century tendency
to use "depth of focus" when what was really meant was
"depth of field."


One example makes it a pattern of significance??? :-)
Even half a dozen examples, which probably could be scraped up,
won't indicate any significance.

Right, if context is not actually everything, it is a lot of it.
I've got no strong objection to "prime lens" as a handy bit
of slang to refer to fixed focal length lenses, but if it starts
to look as if some people are treating it as if it were a proper
part of the technical lexicon then it may be time to object.


Wrong. That is when it is already far too late to object. All
you get then is someone like me making fun of you for refusing
to accept reality... :-)


There's no point in objecting to slang when it is used as such.


Sure. But like I said... try to draw a line between when it is
and when it isn't, and you *can't*.

The slowly creaping respectability of the term is a relatively
recent phenomenon. I have dozens of books about photography,


So?

only one, published in 2000, contains "prime lens" in the sense
of "fixed focal length lens." It would be interesting if someone
could dig up the earliest print uses in photography books.


Interesting trivia, but again that just isn't really significant.

It's a done deal. We might as well get used to it.

I'll grant that if you had asked me 20-30 years ago if I thought
it would be a good idea to use that term in that way, *I* would
have been on your side at that time. But undoing history isn't
something I'm up to. But that happens with a lot of words. For
example, I really really wish that "hacker" was not equated with
"cracker" the way it is today. But it is.


By newspapers, by the general public, but not by the people
who stay up to early morning doing interesting things on
computers for recreation. A hacker knows what the word means
and knows that it's the newspapers and general public who
have it wrong.


It is ubiquitous. And yes the old definition is still in use
too! Context is everything...

And on a more
technical note, we hear about high speed T1 or T3 lines in the
telephone industry all the time... and almost every time you
hear someone say T1 or T3 what they are talking about is a DS1
or a DS3. We live with it though...


I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with the field to comment
much, but based on what you say, it would seem that T1 is sometimes
used as slang when DS1 is the correct designation for that line.


I don't think "slang" is even close to what it is. The fact that
you don't even know what it means, simply because it is a technical
term from a field outside your range of experience, pretty much
demonstrates that it isn't "slang".

It is a very specific technical term, which originally had one
specific meaning, but which now commonly is used (and some would
of course say "incorrectly") to mean something slightly
different too.

Both uses are ubiquitous in the telecommunications industry. The
only significance is that it's one of those "trick questions" by
which you can determine if someone is *really* well versed. If
they don't realize there are *two* meanings... they be newbies!

If so, this would seem to be a good example of the difference
between correct terminolgy and slang use.


Virtually *everybody* in the industry uses the term in both the
original, pedantic way, and as a synonym for a DS1. It isn't
slang.

(An interesting side note on just how significant "convention"
is to me in communications... I just ran a spell check on this
article and found that I had incorrectly spelled
"communications" virtually every time I used the word. To me, a
word is just a symbol for a meaning, and symbols are a dime a
dozen and can change every day.)

--
FloydL. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
  #129  
Old October 3rd 05, 09:32 AM
nick c
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David Littlewood wrote:
In article , Floyd Davidson
writes


It is just an extension of the concept that a "normal" or
"standard" lens is called a "prime lens". And since there are
already at least two very good terms for that meaning, it does
seem rather natural for the meaning of "prime" to migrate to a
somewhat broader scope.

I had never seen that usage before this discussion, despite being a keen
photographer for several decades. The universal term for such lenses, in
the days when they were the most common of SLR lenses, was always
"standard".

Maybe it was a US usage, but I don't even recall seeing it in US texts.

You may have a point that once a respectable term has been utterly
*******ised, it makes little difference if it sinks into further
degeneration.

I suggest that, whatever the rights and wrongs of the meaning of
language (and I do think you have a good point, regrettable though it
is) the use of such a *******ised words is best avoided by those who
value precision of language. Those who do use it may be suspected by
some of slipshod linguistic standards

David



"English is the most widely learned and used foreign language in the
world, and, as such, many linguists believe it is no longer the
exclusive cultural emblem of "native English speakers," but rather a
language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it grows in
use. Others believe that there are limits to how far English can go in
suiting everyone for communication purposes. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language
  #130  
Old October 3rd 05, 11:27 AM
Chris Brown
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In article ,
Jeremy Nixon wrote:
Chris Brown wrote:

Can you think of any change to the language perpetrated by marketing
that was good?


To pick a random example, we have the verb "to hoover", which avoids
overloading the noun, "vacuum" by turning it into a verb.


Wow... I've never heard the verb "to hoover".


That's most likely because you're from North America, and it's a British
English word.

(I'm sure the folks at the Hoover company wouldn't be too
happy about it, either.)


On the contrary, I believe they are entirely happy with the word "hoover"
having come to be a generic term for vacuum cleaner, and the currency of the
associated verb. Indeed, AIUI they positively encouraged the use. It's
probably responsible for a good section of the dwindling market share they
have left. It used to be the case that everyone hoovered with a Hoover. Now
everyone hoovers with a Dyson.

I understand there's a near parallel in American English with "kleenex"
(although there's no associated verb). In British English, there's no such
improper noun (they're just "tissues"), only a proper noun.

Or for something more modern, and with more international currency, try "to
google" - much more managable than "to search the Internet".


I really hope that one never makes it past pop-culture slang.


I believe it's in the OED.

It is worth noting, in that case, that the word "google" actually has
another meaning, one that has almost certainly already been destroyed
beyond hope of recovery.


If you're thinking of 10^100 then you're wrong, that's a googol. The name of
the search engine is a pun on that.
 




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