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#1608675 - 01/30/11 09:45 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
The distinction between what something is 'technically' called (ie. its dictionary definition) and what something is commonly referred to as a nickname or whatever, is a very moot one.


I disagree. The distinctions are there for those who care - or for those who need the distinction.

In the first situation, I for one appreciate the nuances of word choice and if I use one word, I expect it to be interpreted with a standard meaning.

In the second - those who are speaking a second (3rd or 4th) language (any language) but who don't live in a country where it is the first language DEPEND on standard usages and can be thrown off by variants.

In the end it comes down to a) areyou speaking to people who know these common references and b)how much do you want to be sure you aren't misinterpreted?

In an international community such as this, no one can assume that what something is commony referred to in one place is going to be perfectly understood in another.



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#1608685 - 01/30/11 10:09 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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For an analogy:

A Tannoy is a widely used word meaning public-address system, despite the fact that Tannoy is a brand name. This technical distinction doesn't matter in the majority of cases, as, through usage (which is the most important factor in the changing of language) tannoy has come to mean public-address system to most people, whoever the manufacturer may be. How people use words is far more important that what dictionaries say about them. I don't think we disagree about the multilingual implications of this however.

Last edited by debrucey; 01/30/11 10:14 AM.
#1608694 - 01/30/11 10:22 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey


A Tannoy is a widely used word meaning public-address system, despite the fact that Tannoy is a brand name.


Not in Australia, I can assure you... wink

#1608695 - 01/30/11 10:22 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: daro]  
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Originally Posted by daro
Originally Posted by wr
Not only that, there is the obvious etymological connection of "song" and "sing", which this new usage violates.

You'd think, since suddenly a certain part of the population has started referring to music such as the Chopin etudes as a "songs", that there would be a corresponding shift in the word used to describe performing that music. But it hasn't happened - so far as I know, no one here talks about "singing" that etude. I suppose we can look forward to that development next.

So it sounds a little naive if people call some pieces songs; still, if people aren't "singing" the etudes, they are at least, thanks to Liszt, out there holding "recitals" and "reciting" them. Not only did people somehow manage to get over that rather egregious linguistic abomination, but today it's hard to imagine the language without that word.


Good point, although the "recital" thing was a bit different, in that it wasn't invented by people out of ignorance of what they were doing. At the time, the concept that one "told" a piece of music as if it were a story or epic poem was very much in the air, and so "reciting" music was not really the same sort of egregious linguistic abomination as the current usage of "song", but was a logical extension of meaning based on how people were thinking about performance.


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#1608701 - 01/30/11 10:29 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: wr]  
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'Songs' are soooooo last year!

Keep up wid da program, go check out Show-pans wicked beatz! They are the dopest.


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#1608703 - 01/30/11 10:37 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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It is sad to see how the Internet (YouTube, iTunes etc.) helps propagate the wrong term "song"... Under some pieces you find "Download this song on iTunes"... crazy



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#1608704 - 01/30/11 10:40 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
For an analogy:

A Tannoy is a widely used word meaning public-address system, despite the fact that Tannoy is a brand name. This technical distinction doesn't matter in the majority of cases, as, through usage (which is the most important factor in the changing of language) tannoy has come to mean public-address system to most people, whoever the manufacturer may be. How people use words is far more important that what dictionaries say about them. I don't think we disagree about the multilingual implications of this however.


ok... well, I'm being perfectly sincere when I tell you that I've never heard Tannoy. Ever. Today is the first time. With all due respect,your analogy doesn't work.
Kleenex might be a better analogy.

In any event, I feel there is a difference between a brand name coming to replace the dictionary definition versus a word taking on a different meaning. (and in many cases, a brand name will still only work in the country where it is most used.)

Think of the recent (fairly recent) use of "sick" to mean something is "good or nice", think of the debasement of truly powerful words such as "awesome".


The idea that what people decide a word means is more important than what it does mean takes us to Alice in Wonderland where Humpty Dumpty says that whatever he means a word to mean,is what it means. That can become a bit absurd.

Sure language evolves, it is a fact of life. However, I can only lament the blatant sacrifice of perfectly good words with clear meanings. I repeat, if one's object is to communicate, one uses the language that works for one's audience - (and I don't mean English or Italian, I mean word choice). I've used "one" because if I write "you" it sounds too personally directed and I'm speaking in general terms.


I know not everyone thinks the way I do, and I don't expect them to, I don't need anyone to be convinced (though I'd like it smile ).

Words are my business, they're important to me.


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#1608707 - 01/30/11 10:44 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by tomasino
Many times I've weighed in on this subject on PW, and made the point that in baseball, a point is never called a point--it's called a "run." And anyone who calls a "run" a "point" will be subjected to some degree of chastisement or correction by the true-blue baseball fan, as he has shown that he does not know and understand and love the hallowed traditions of baseball. Do we regard the baseball fan as being a snob because he insists a point is a "run." I don't. I understand. It's not Cricket.
+1 (and it's a "run" in cricket, too! smile )


I'm happy to stand corrected, and honor the traditional word usage of those who understand cricket.

Tomasino


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#1608708 - 01/30/11 10:50 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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At school, announcements were always made over the Tannoy.
At home, my Mum did the Hoovering.


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#1608771 - 01/30/11 12:26 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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Hoovering - We were watching a British detective show and that word came up. I told my wife about Hoovering; she's Dutch and I'm not sure if they had that brand over here when she was growing up.

Hoovering is exactly like Xeroxing. I don't have a problem with that and even if I did, what can I do about it?




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#1608779 - 01/30/11 12:39 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: casinitaly]  
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
...Think of the recent (fairly recent) use of "sick" to mean something is "good or nice", think of the debasement of truly powerful words such as "awesome".


That usage of "sick" has found it's way into TV advertising - the commercial for Ford's F-150 pickup has a guy saying "That's sick" to describe his delight at first seeing one...this caught me by surprise - I couldn't figure out why he was denigrating a product he seemed to like so much. My wife explained it to me.

Or take the word "bad", which has slowly had it's usage changed from an adjective meaning, well, "not good" to an adjective meaning just the opposite, or "good", and now to a noun meaning "error" or "mistake', as in "that was my bad..."

Word usage evolves - for better or (usually) worse - can it be stopped? Unlikely. Can this be protested? Most certainly, but fruitlesly.

However, if I'm wrong about this then that's bad (not good) and it's my bad... But if I'm right then that's just gotta be sick...


JF

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#1608795 - 01/30/11 01:12 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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#1608834 - 01/30/11 02:39 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: casinitaly]  
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
In the first situation, I for one appreciate the nuances of word choice and if I use one word, I expect it to be interpreted with a standard meaning.

In the second - those who are speaking a second (3rd or 4th) language (any language) but who don't live in a country where it is the first language DEPEND on standard usages and can be thrown off by variants.

In the end it comes down to a) areyou speaking to people who know these common references and b)how much do you want to be sure you aren't misinterpreted?

Since I think the more common use of the word "song" today is to mean any piece of music (and not the way suggested in the OP), I don't think there would be any problem in confusing people whose first language isn't English. The meaning and even standard meaning of a word can change.

#1608844 - 01/30/11 02:50 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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The battle over "song" and "piece" is not over, at least not among classical musicians. And in any event, I'd rather be right than happy.

Tomasino


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#1608855 - 01/30/11 03:05 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by casinitaly
In the first situation, I for one appreciate the nuances of word choice and if I use one word, I expect it to be interpreted with a standard meaning.

In the second - those who are speaking a second (3rd or 4th) language (any language) but who don't live in a country where it is the first language DEPEND on standard usages and can be thrown off by variants.

In the end it comes down to a) areyou speaking to people who know these common references and b)how much do you want to be sure you aren't misinterpreted?

Since I think the more common use of the word "song" today is to mean any piece of music (and not the way suggested in the OP), I don't think there would be any problem in confusing people whose first language isn't English. The meaning and even standard meaning of a word can change.



I wasn't really focusing on the question at hand: song versus piece, I was looking at broader issues where perfectly good words are abandonded or put to a (to me at least) incomprehensible use.

For the record, I think a song is sung , a piece is played.



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#1609274 - 01/31/11 07:47 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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I love the way PW threads start off on topic and then wander off on tangents! From scalar and song to Tannoys and Hoovers! And even a pic of a fried herring and mash! Love it!

I now reverse my peeve about "scalar" after reading the thoughtful replies above and thinking some more about it. I do object to "scalic" and "scalene" as I think they derive from "scaly" (as in what's on the outside of a fish), whereas scalar derives from "scale" from the Latin "scala/ae", a ladder. But I'll continue to say "scale passage" myself and promise not to be peeved whan I hear scalar.

And everybody seems to agree that calling any work of music generically a "song" is a modern youth thing probably due to iTunes/iPods/iGadgets calling everything a "song" and the usage is pretty nigh universal. I can only take some small comfort in that students starting formal musical studies at a conservatory will rapidly be told by their teachers the correct terminology to be used in formal musical language, and after graduation will fill forums like this expressing their peeve about the generic use of "song" by others... and so the wheel turns...



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#1609320 - 01/31/11 09:51 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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Originally Posted by Toastburn
]And everybody seems to agree that calling any work of music generically a "song" is a modern youth thing probably due to iTunes/iPods/iGadgets calling everything a "song" and the usage is pretty nigh universal. I can only take some small comfort in that students starting formal musical studies at a conservatory will rapidly be told by their teachers the correct terminology to be used in formal musical language, and after graduation will fill forums like this expressing their peeve about the generic use of "song" by others... and so the wheel turns...
I think it's more likely that only some of students studying music will be told by their teachers about "correct' terminology. I know music teachers today who regularly use "song" for any piece of music. I also think that the students will mostly continue to use "song" outside the classroom no matter what their teachers tell them and that fairly soon, no one will be concerned about the distinction between "song" and whatever other word you prefer.

#1609367 - 01/31/11 11:20 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I know music teachers today who regularly use "song" for any piece of music.


Now THAT is depressing !!



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#1609386 - 01/31/11 11:53 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Toastburn]  
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Originally Posted by Toastburn
[...] And everybody seems to agree that calling any work of music generically a "song" is a modern youth thing probably due to iTunes/iPods/iGadgets calling everything a "song" and the usage is pretty nigh universal. I can only take some small comfort in that students starting formal musical studies at a conservatory will rapidly be told by their teachers the correct terminology to be used in formal musical language, and after graduation will fill forums like this expressing their peeve about the generic use of "song" by others... and so the wheel turns...


Back when I was but a lad, in the day when "i" was an e.e. cummings invention...

...long before it's use was corrupted by the Apple corporation...

...when television was still black and white...

...and so were the clothes...

...and so were the horses and buggies...

...and the dinosaurs...

I called each and every piece of music I learned to play on the piano a "song." I had two piano teachers before the third one, a no-nonsense German virtuoso, broke me of that linguistic habit. I am still able to find the "song" inside of a "piece," but almost always call it a "piece," unless I feel like using the diminutive, "tune."

Just sayin' the use of "song" for "piece" has been around at least that long, and I don't think I was really ahead of the times in any way, shape, or form. smile


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#1609395 - 01/31/11 12:07 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Carey]  
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I know music teachers today who regularly use "song" for any piece of music.


Now THAT is depressing !!
I don't think so. They just understand it's more important to communicate with teenagers in a way that is meaningful to them. I think they see the bigger picture of wanting to get them interested in classical music as being the really important thing. And I agree completely with them.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/31/11 12:08 PM.
#1609657 - 01/31/11 05:30 PM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I know music teachers today who regularly use "song" for any piece of music.


Now THAT is depressing !!
I don't think so. They just understand it's more important to communicate with teenagers in a way that is meaningful to them. I think they see the bigger picture of wanting to get them interested in classical music as being the really important thing. And I agree completely with them.


PL - I think I understand and appreciate where you are coming from, but IMO (as someone who also taught teenagers for a time) if you only feed teenagers what they WANT to hear, it is less likely that they will be receptive to what they SHOULD hear (i.e., proper terminology). They want to be adults - so treat them as adults. smile


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#1609942 - 02/01/11 12:12 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Cinnamonbear]  
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


Just sayin' the use of "song" for "piece" has been around at least that long, and I don't think I was really ahead of the times in any way, shape, or form. smile


How old were you? I vaguely remember that very young children tend to call all music "songs", in the same way they extrapolate and generalize other words they know to cover things for which they have not yet learned the right word. Maybe that's what is happening now - the whole world is being overrun by tots.


#1609947 - 02/01/11 12:16 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Carey]  
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I know music teachers today who regularly use "song" for any piece of music.


Now THAT is depressing !!



I agree. And I think some teachers get pretty desperate in their attempts not to appear old-fashioned to their students, which is kind of sad.

However, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if being old-fashioned becomes a new fashion at some point. There are hints of that already, in the whole "steam-punk" thing.

#1609950 - 02/01/11 12:24 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Hoovering - We were watching a British detective show and that word came up. I told my wife about Hoovering; she's Dutch and I'm not sure if they had that brand over here when she was growing up.

Hoovering is exactly like Xeroxing. I don't have a problem with that and even if I did, what can I do about it?



It isn't exactly like xeroxing. There may be a Xerox brand, but the word itself is from xerography, which was the name the inventor gave to the process. It comes from the Greek root xeros, meaning dry, and which he chose to distinguish it from already existing wet copying methods.

#1609977 - 02/01/11 01:13 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: tomasino]  
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Originally Posted by tomasino

I'm happy to stand corrected, and honor the traditional word usage of those who understand cricket.

I never could properly figure out cricket (I guess I was never that British) and pace currawong, I got to the point where I didn't really care one way or the other. (And memories of pouring rain on the Worcester cricket ground.)

OTH, I love baseball, and some of my new American friends are promising to take me to a Mariners game this coming season. (But do they ever play better than the Red Sox?) Yet after proper amounts of beer, I do suppose it should be fun whatever happens. laugh


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#1610011 - 02/01/11 02:59 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
I never could properly figure out cricket (I guess I was never that British) and pace currawong, I got to the point where I didn't really care one way or the other.
Oh, I assure you I don't care one way or the other either! laugh But you have to have some excuse to spend the summer flopped on a chair with a glass of wine, haven't you!


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#1610017 - 02/01/11 03:17 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: currawong]  
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#1610066 - 02/01/11 06:39 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Hoovering - We were watching a British detective show and that word came up. I told my wife about Hoovering; she's Dutch and I'm not sure if they had that brand over here when she was growing up.

Hoovering is exactly like Xeroxing. I don't have a problem with that and even if I did, what can I do about it?



It isn't exactly like xeroxing. There may be a Xerox brand, but the word itself is from xerography, which was the name the inventor gave to the process. It comes from the Greek root xeros, meaning dry, and which he chose to distinguish it from already existing wet copying methods.


OK, it's isn't exactly the same, it's almost exactly the same. smile



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#1610126 - 02/01/11 10:21 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


Just sayin' the use of "song" for "piece" has been around at least that long, and I don't think I was really ahead of the times in any way, shape, or form. smile


How old were you? I vaguely remember that very young children tend to call all music "songs", in the same way they extrapolate and generalize other words they know to cover things for which they have not yet learned the right word. Maybe that's what is happening now - the whole world is being overrun by tots.



Ha-ha! Good thought, wr! I was about 8 years old, maybe 9. Old enough to know better, I suppose, but then, even coming from a family of fairly careful language users, no one had corrected me to that point, including the piano teachers! laugh

And, yes, I agree it does sometimes feel like the world is being overrun by tots. (I was going to write a rant, here, but thought better of it. I will simply shake my head in resignation and nod in agreement with you.)


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#1610141 - 02/01/11 10:50 AM Re: Two peeves about terminology [Re: wr]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,359
Cinnamonbear Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Cinnamonbear  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,359
Rockford, IL
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Hoovering - We were watching a British detective show and that word came up. I told my wife about Hoovering; she's Dutch and I'm not sure if they had that brand over here when she was growing up.

Hoovering is exactly like Xeroxing. I don't have a problem with that and even if I did, what can I do about it?



It isn't exactly like xeroxing. There may be a Xerox brand, but the word itself is from xerography, which was the name the inventor gave to the process. It comes from the Greek root xeros, meaning dry, and which he chose to distinguish it from already existing wet copying methods.


YES, it isn't exactly the same, it's almost exactly the same. wink


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
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