If you use a PC, laptop, cellphone or iPod (or maybe all of the above), you're no doubt familiar with the name of the wireless technology linking them together: Bluetooth.
Okay, maybe not all the digital technology, but we're talking about the name here and what it refers to. When you take off and land, the airline cabin attendant reminds you to "disable the Bluetooth function on your electronic device".
There's nothing dental about my wireless connection, and the only thing blue is the icon. So how did the name Bluetooth get attached to a short-range wireless technology?
Kardach's partner in history and drink that night,
Harald may have had a conspicuously bad tooth or especially liked to eat blueberries, which would explain his epithet "Bluetooth".
His reign, from about 958 to 985, was marked by more peaceful relations among previously warring Scandinavian tribes, which later Scandinavian chroniclers attributed to Harald's ability to mediate between hostile groups.
(Interestingly, during this same three decades, |
Kardach liked to explore history and was intrigued by the career and aspirations of
During discussions among several tech companies with different proposals for wireless (radio) interfaces, he chose the name, Bluetooth, as an appropriate, if temporary, name for the special interest group they were trying to form.
As the project moved forward, the group adopted Bluetooth until a formal |name was chosen. But the name stuck.
While many internet names have been drawn from the cultural mythology of exploration, discovery and conquest (Explorer, Safari, Konquerer, Netscape Navigator), Bluetooth is linked to a story of communication and peace.
Acronyms (such as "Wof") and initialised abbreviations ("CIA") are nothing new in many languages, especially in corporate, administration or bureaucratic settings. But English speakers have a fondness for making up such words.
And they are words, whether we pronounce them with syllables or say their individual letters.
The number of acronyms in English increased markedly during the 20th century, mostly due to military and government use.
More recently, new digital networks and formats have accelerated the creation and use of new acronyms.
Popular culture, street talk and popular music push acronyms such as YOLO ("You only live once") and FOMO ("Fear of missing out") into wider use.
Take YOLO, for example, one of many groups' nominees for word of the year in 2011.
My 9-year-old the other day gave me his concise definition of YOLO: "You say it after you do something risky or maybe dangerous or not good for you, but you do it anyway."
Not what you want to hear from your pre-teen, but he is |a good source of linguistic information.
The acronym, now all over under-30s' talk,
Shortly after Drake's song was released,
But Drake didn't create the word. One of the earliest attested uses of the YOLO acronym comes from 2004, when Adam Mesh, from the reality TV show, The Average Joe, launched a line of urban streetwear called YOLO. Now YOLO belongs to urban street speech, rap and the youth-oriented digital world.
FOMO is another new acronym, but the word has a different back story, maybe more than one.
The Oxford English Dictionary definition of FOMO is: "Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website."
But the word's origin and first meaning might be different. FOMO might have been created in the mid-1990s by marketing analysts as an acronym to explain how new media commerce was undermining traditional brand loyalties.
At least, that's what
The problem is, he doesn't give any citations or links to back up his claim. In any case, FOMO and its meaning have now moved beyond market analysis and become part of the affective vocabulary of life online.
One new construction we can find more and more in online writing is because noun. For instance: "If due north was good enough for that chicken's parents and grandparents and great-great-great-great-grandparents, it's good enough for that chicken too, damn it. But
In because noun constructions, most of what might have been put into an embedded clause (sentence) or put after "because of" is dropped, reducing the word string to because plus a noun or group of words acting like a noun.
Sometimes, this construction appears with an affect word ("because, hey, politics"; "because yay!"). The writer's attitude here is informal, based on spoken interaction ("Why?" "Because of politics."), sassy, and hip: do I have to spell it out for you? You already know the meaning from the context, right?
I suspect the ironising, somewhat sarcastic tone of these constructions can be traced back to one of two sources.
The first is
Others have noted this joke for the because noun construction, but no one remarks that Handey's line also includes a fully subordinating because.
Also, hey indicates both a spoken register and a switch in tone after because.
The web is now full of ironising "free dummy" sites.
The second possible source is from the online comic strip Three Word Phrase (#139, "Reasons").
The last panel - "I want this because of reasons" - went viral and generated many imitations and riffs, including "Because Science" T-shirts.
Again, though, people don't note that the speech bubble uses a because of construction.
If the Three Word Phrase is the precursor, then because noun constructions are just reduced forms of "because of" constructions. -
Most Popular Stories
- Photo ID Required for Unemployment Benefits
- Software Writers Sought in Indiana
- Ukraine Crisis Limits Losses in Gold, Silver
- Can GOP Dodge Immigration Bullet?
- How Past Mistakes Will Drive Ukraine's Future
- Tech Firms to Increase Hiring for 4th Year in a Row
- Job Fair for S.C. Grads
- Chiquita, Fyffes to Form Top Banana
- Millennials Favor Saving Over Investing: UBS
- Big Earthquake Rumbles Northern California