tune in
Posted: 28 April 2011 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Have y’all thought about how anachronistic this phrase in with regard to the modern television viewer?

I hadn’t, but I have now.

Good day, sir.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 03:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The devices that discriminate the digital signals in your new television are called tuners. Like dialing a phone, the action of tuning a television has changed, but the function remains.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I sit corrected.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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And unless I badly misunderstand, reception of the signal still depends on matching the resonant frequency of a circuit inside the tuner/receiver with that of the transmitted signal.  Since (audio) frequency matching is the basis of tuning instruments, this is presumably the origin of “tuning in” in the sense of adjusting a radio, and later, television, to receive a specific signal.

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Posted: 28 April 2011 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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A little technical learning may be a dangerous thing. 

A Wikipedia entry suggests, that “...The terms “tuner” and “receiver” are used loosely, and it is perhaps more appropriately called an ATSC receiver, with the tuner being part of the receiver (see Metonymy)....”

and (from another Wikipedia entry):

“...The phrase “to fish pearls” uses metonymy, drawing from “fishing” the idea of taking things from the ocean. What is carried across from “fishing fish” to “fishing pearls” is the domain of metonymy...”

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Posted: 29 April 2011 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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But is there a specific term for the form of metonymy whereby one thing or process is referred to by the name of an obsolete thing or process that used to fulfil that function? As when, in my household, we speak of “taping” a TV programme, although there is now no tape involved in recording it?

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Posted: 29 April 2011 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 29 April 2011 05:26 AM

But is there a specific term for the form of metonymy whereby one thing or process is referred to by the name of an obsolete thing or process that used to fulfil that function? As when, in my household, we speak of “taping” a TV programme, although there is now no tape involved in recording it?

We had quite a long thread on this subject on the old board some nine years ago (goodness, has it really been that long?)

Expressions clinging for dear life

Haven’t reread the thread yet so I don’t know whether anyone came up with a name. Edit: No, we didn’t cover whether this process had a name. Some good examples though.

[ Edited: 29 April 2011 03:27 PM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 29 April 2011 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Some good examples though.

Pen

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Posted: 30 April 2011 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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In archaeology, an artefact that owes its shape to a previous material or technology is called a skeuomorph. For example, the first generation of electric kettles were skeuomorphs: for years after they were introduced they were still made with a broad flat base and rounded top - a shape that had been necessary for hob kettles that were heated on a stove-top, but was quite unnecessary, indeed sub-optimal, for a kettle with an internal heating element. 

I once used the term “verbal skeuomorph” to a couple of archaeologist friends and they knew what I meant straight away. Would you call that an reasonable term?

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Posted: 30 April 2011 02:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Skeuonym?

Although skeuo- is from the Greek for “vessel, implement” (betraying the term’s archeological root). So it doesn’t work etymologically. But then again, etymology is not destiny.

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Posted: 30 April 2011 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dave Wilton - 30 April 2011 02:38 AM

Skeuonym?

Although skeuo- is from the Greek for “vessel, implement” (betraying the term’s archeological root). So it doesn’t work etymologically. But then again, etymology is not destiny.

For me, it could be force-fit, taking “vessel” in a metaphorical sense, referring to words as such carrying “meaning,” perhaps?  I could live with “skeuonym.” I would likely remember “skew-o-nym” as a helpful and slightly humorous mnemonic device.  I see “skeuonym” used on the internets with boldness, though it does not appear at etymonline.com.  Kevin Kelly may have coined the word in his recent book, What Technology Wants.

Considering that most common clock displays are digital these days and that this may be the trend for the foreseeable future, wouldn’t “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise” likely become good examples of “skeuonyms?” Maybe more things related to the analog clock-face will pass from everyday use. 

I notice that some arithmetic thinking in modulo 12, 24, and 60 ("clock-math" or “clock arithmetic") is easier for me because of the analog clock-face experience I have grown up with.  For others, it is not so easy. 

For example: say that a certain process has to run for 16 hours, then be checked and a determination made whether to stop or continue the process.  If it’s 10:00 AM, and I calculate quickly and easily say, “So, we’ll need to check this tomorrow at 2:00 AM,” to some, it seems like magic.

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