(From Lognet 93/3)

Lo Cninu Purda (New Words)

As I said last issue, a subject like computers will require more than one column. This isn’t just because it’s a large and growing field, but because I’m an amateur and will leave out a number of terms vital to someone or other. For various reasons, among them the likelihood of some minor controversies, I’m restricting this column to computer terms.

To forestall comments, I should point out a couple of things. First, borrowings, including the compact ones we know as S-Prims and I-prims, are metaphorically opaque. The internationally recognized root comput[a/e] (the c is often a k in writing, of course) could have strainer for eggnog as its underlying metaphor, for all we care. What matters is that it is recognized with the meaning we give it.

Second, this root is tricky lexically. I can justify it as an I-prim, I think, despite the theoretical existence of other forms. While the French Academy requires ordinateur, for example, I doubt any French programmer would be stymied by computer any more than a German would be by telephone or telefon (instead of fernspracher). Some forms are, so to speak, passively international: they may not be recognized by a language’s lexicon, but they are recognized by the speakers. In any event, in addition to E computer/-ation, S computador and J konputa, one of my friends who has worked for several years in Russia (beginning when it was still the Soviet Union) confirms that “computer nerds” (his phrasing) in Russia tend to use E technical words with R pronunciation, apparently even to saying floppi disk, and that they would recognize komputer as a word. So I could write komta up as a C-Prim, but figuring out the numbers would get tricky. So I’ve elected to use komta but call it an I-Prim.

Third, my reason for adopting a primitive is that computers are not just programmable devices (see rogmai), and when a concept is as difficult to sum up in a quick metaphor as this one is, a primitive is called for. Also, building a 5-letter primitive rather than adopting a borrowing like ?komputu allows a related djifoa as a borrowing would not. In particular, komta can be given the affix kot.

1. Theme Words: Computers


komta (kot) <E,R,S,G c/k-omput-er/ador, J konputa> is a computer. I-Prim ’93 (This gives us several forms:)

kotytelfo <ko(m)t(a) + telfo = computer-telephone> is a modem connecting [computer] .. with communication system ... 2-Cpx ’93 (I originally used ?mactelfo to save a syllable.)

kotytelvi <ko(m)t(a) + telvi = computer-television> is a monitor for system ... 2-Cpx ’93 (Here I’m generalizing the sense of telvi to mean a monitor of any kind.)

kotrae <ko(m)t(a) + ra(nd)e = computer-disk> is a computer disk[ette] used by [formatted for?] system ... 2-Cpx ’93 (Use stifa and norstifa for hard and floppy. On those rare occasions when (large) disks must be distinguished from diskettes, groda and cmalo may be used. I doubt there’d be any call for ?kotcmarae diskette. From kotrae we get (by abbreviation) the word for a drive.)

ranridmai <ran(de) + rid(le) + ma(tc)i = round-read-machine> is a disk drive in system ... 3-Cpx ’93 (Taken from French lecteur. As a matter of jargon, the ran- would probably be dropped by power logli. [Nor]stifa could be used here as well.)

klaki (2/2 E key, 3/5 S tecla, 2/3 R klavic, 2/2 J ki = 45%) is a key/button, a (typically) binary-state control, in/of device ... C-Prim ’93 (I could up the numbers a bit by using the klaviatur [“keyboard”] root in G and F. This is used for keys, buttons, possibly light switches, etc.)

klakyduo <klaki + du(rz)o = key-do> keys/enters [data] .. into device/system ... 2-Cpx ’93

feksui <fek(to) + su(nd)i = fact-send> enters [line] .. into device/system ... 1v hits return. 2-Cpx ’93 (For actually hitting the return/enter key, as opposed to merely typing something. Klakyduo would also be appropriate for modern telephone “dialing.”)

klakyveo <klaki + ve(sl)o = key-holder> is a keyboard/console of device ... 2-Cpx ’93 (An alternative might be klakypae [“key-apparatus”], though I have trouble calling a computer keyboard an apparatus.)

klakysio <klaki + si(st)o = key-system> is a keyboard/arrangement of keys in device .. 2-Cpx ’93

kojklaki <ko(r)j(i) + klaki = order-key> is a function key of keyboard ... 2-Cpx ’93 (A function key commands a program to do something. Not the best metaphor—?durklaki might be better—but the best I could think of. I’m not sure I want to suggest ?tolklaki for “control key”; “alternate key” downright evades me. I’m also unsure how to handle “shift key.” Perhaps I can try keyboard terms as a subtopic next issue.)

tolrolgu <t(r)ol(i) + rolgu = control-roller> is a mouse (a control device which rolls on some surface) of system ... 2-Cpx ’93 (I toyed with kotrau [“computer-mouse”] for this. Care to vote?)

tolbalma <t(r)ol(i) + balma = control-ball> is a trackball of system ... 2-Cpx ’93

tolstuka <t(r)ol(i) + stuka = control-stick> is a joystick of system ... 2-Cpx ’93

2. Software/Operations

proga (rog) <E,R,S,F,G program(a/m(e))>. is a program written by .. for/to do .. on system ... I-Prim ’93 (See remarks about internationality of computer. From this we get various words:)

rogduo <(p)rog(a) + du(rz)o = program-do> programs [system] .. to [do] ... 2-Cpx ’93

rogfoa <(p)rog(a) + fo(rm)a = program-form> is an algorithm for doing ... 2-Cpx ’93

rogleu <(p)rog(a) + le(ng)u = program-language> is a programming language on system ... 2-Cpx ’93

rogylodji <(p)rog(a) + lodji = program-logic> is the program-logic for moving from step .. to step .. in program ... 2-Cpx ’93

rogmai <(p)rog(a) + ma(tc)i = program-machine> is a programmable device/computer for doing ... 2-Cpx ’93 (This could be used for computers, but also for microwave ovens and VCRs. There is also such a thing as a rogpae, a programmable apparatus, eg, Jacquard looms and many musical devices.)

rognakso <(p)rog(a) + na(ks)o = program-fix> debugs .. on system .. 2-Cpx ’93 (?rogdremao and ?rogtsetoa are other possibilities.)

rogpai <(p)rog(a) + pa(rt)i = program-part> is a function/module/–subroutine of program .. with function ... 2-Cpx ’93

rogsea <(p)rog(a) + se(tf)a = program-place> installs program .. on system .. 2-Cpx ’93

bufrogsea <buf(po) + (p)rog(a) + se(tf)a = opposite-program-place> de-installs program .. from system .. 3-Cpx ’93

fatproga <fat(ru) + proga = bother-program> is a virus by .. producing effect .. on system ... 2-Cpx ’93 (This sounds tame, but many viruses are more annoying than dangerous. Perhaps ?hutproga [“destroy-program”] could be used for the latter, or just ?malproga [“sick-program”] as a general term.)

For “crashes”, use rodcea/-cko/-mao break down; add ran- (disk), rog- (program), or sis- (the whole electronic enchilada) as desired.

baprysio <bapr(a) + si(st)o = operate-system> is an operating system of .. 2-Cpx ’93

fekveo <fek(to) + ve(sl)o = fact-container> is a file containing ... 2-Cpx ’93 (In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m using fekto for datum/-a.)

3. Memory

I know I’ll get some backchat on this next group, but memory (RAM) is not the amount a system can “remember” but the amount it can “think about.” It might be helpful on rare occasions to prefix kot- to these forms.

pencai <pen(so) + ca(nl)i = think-amount> is the memory capacity of system ... 2-Cpx ’93

pensea <pen(so) + se(tf)a = think-place> loads .. into system ..’s memory. 2-Cpx ’93 (For disk operations, we may use ran- complexes as before.)

ransri <ran(de) + sri(te) = round-write> saves/writes .. to disk ... 2-Cpx ’93

rirtoa <rir(da) + to(kn)a = record-take> erases/deletes record/file .. from source ... 2-Cpx ’93 (We could use ?rantoa, but it might be better to reserve this form for “de-rounding” something—though this latter concept would presumably be less frequent.)

bithi measures .. bits long, default 1. S-Prim ’93

baithi measures .. bytes long, default 1. S-Prim ’93 (Technically, we could say that bithi = baithypai or baithi = bithygru, but that would get awkward fast. Anyway, we should probably reserve baithypai for

baithypai <baithi + pa(rt)i = byte-part> measures .. nybbles, default 1. 2-Cpx ’93 (if anyone still uses nybbles.)

Well, there they are. If you have any questions, comments, or additions, send them on. (Keep it clean!)

Next issue: the midday edition of household words.

In two issues: Seasonal and winter words (wind chill, etc.) —Hue Stiv Rais