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Virtual words : language on the edge of science and technology

Author: Jonathon Keats
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The technological realm provides an unusually active laboratory not only for new ideas and products but also for the remarkable linguistic innovations that accompany and describe them. How else would words like qubit (a unit of quantum information), sock puppet (an illicit online alternate identity), or in vitro meat (chicken and beef grown in a laboratory) enter our language? In Virtual Words: Language from the
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Jonathon Keats
ISBN: 9780195398540 0195398548
OCLC Number: 515462587
Description: xi, 177 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: Discovery --
Innovation --
Commentary --
Promotion --
Slang --
Neologism.
Responsibility: Jonathon Keats.

Abstract:

"The technological realm provides an unusually active laboratory not only for new ideas and products but also for the remarkable linguistic innovations that accompany and describe them. How else would words like qubit (a unit of quantum information), sock puppet (an illicit online alternate identity), or in vitro meat (chicken and beef grown in a laboratory) enter our language? In Virtual Words: Language from the Edge of Science and Technology, Jonathon Keats, author of Wired Magazine's monthly Jargon Watch column, investigates the interplay between words and ideas in our fast-paced tech-driven use-it-or-lose-it society. In 45 illuminating short essays, Keats examines how such words get coined, what relationship they have to their subject matter, and why some, like blog, succeed while others, like flog, fail. Divided into broad categories--such as euphemism, polemic, jargon, and slang, in addition to scientific and technological neologisms--chapters each consider one exemplary word, its definition, origin, context, and significance. Examples range from cybrid (a human-animal hybrid embryo) and unparticle (a form of matter lacking definite mass) to gene foundry (a laboratory where microbes are built) and blackhawk (a combative helicopter parent). Together these words provide not only a survey of technological invention and its consequences, but also a fascinating glimpse of novel language as it comes into being. No one knows this emerging lexical terrain better than Jonathon Keats, and in writing that is as inventive and engaging as the language it describes, Virtual Words offers endless delights for word-lovers, technophiles, and anyone intrigued by the essential human obsession with naming"--

"Advancing rapidly, generating new words in tandem with new ideas, technology provides an unusually active laboratory for the study of linguistic innovation, churning out terms like "unparticles," "cybrid," "dirt style," "ludology," and "femtocell." VIRTUAL WORDS puts a sampling of this terminology into perspective. Organized into sections like Science, Technology, Euphemism, and Polemic, Signal to Noise consists of short essays, covering about 100 words. Some words, such as "meat puppet" and "w00t," have already found their niche, while others, such as "collabulary" and "hedonomics," are past obsolete. Others still, such as "neuroethics" and "exopolitics," remain of less certain fate. Each word provides an occasion for considering the language of technology from a different perspective: how words get coined, what relationship they have to their subject matter, and why they succeed or fail. Together these short essays offer not only a survey of invention and its consequences, but also an ample stock of novel language caught in action. VIRTUAL WORDS will appeal to general readers interested in the interplay between words and ideas in our fast-paced, tech-driven, use-it-or-lose-it society"--

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Keat's survey of the ways in which science and technology shape language is clever and humorous. * Samantha Murphy, New Scientist *

 
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