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Webumentary
Posted: 28 June 2007 09:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I was making a reply to a blog I visit and was commenting on a series of web pages that are written like a ‘documentary’.

I write poetry so I am always think of words as communitcation tools and typed the word ‘webumentary’ before even knowing if it wasa real word already or not.  So I googled word history and got your national non-profit site.

I searched and got no hits.

Hence right now I presume it is NOT a ‘recognized’ word...yet.

So I went down one list on Google and got:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=webumentary&searchmode=none
though to ‘sponser’ a word they want $10 for 6 months...THAT’s a ripoff :)

So I continued down the google list and went to the Oxford site...what better place to start a search of the ENGLISH language than in England right?

http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=searchresults&freesearch=webumentary&branch=&textsearchtype=exact

Sorry...no results there either.

So it seems I am the FIRST one to think of this word to be used as a reference to a work of word and picture art on the web that purports or presents itself as some type of ‘documentary’ type of work...that the work can be BEST referred to as a “WEBUMENTARY”

I sent the word into them and we’ll see what they reply :)

Bob...:D

[Edited subject line—dw]

[ Edited: 04 July 2007 06:35 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 28 June 2007 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I should have googled ‘webumentary’ itself :red:

oops

Still not in Oxford’s dictionary though.

Bob… :lol:

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Posted: 28 June 2007 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well though I found other uses with google it still seems not to be defined in the free online dictionary?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/webumentary
Word not found in the Dictionary and Encyclopedia.

Some articles that match your query:
Ami McKay

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ami+McKay

Did she ‘invent’ the word?

Bob… :question:

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Posted: 29 June 2007 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Inventing words is simplicity itself. Getting people to use those words in great enough numbers and over a long enough period for the dictionaries to recognize them, hic labor, hic opus est. (’There the great task, the mighty labour lies’).

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Posted: 29 June 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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aldiboronti - 29 June 2007 05:38 AM

Inventing words is simplicity itself. Getting people to use those words in great enough numbers and over a long enough period for the dictionaries to recognize them, hic labor, hic opus est. (’There the great task, the mighty labour lies’).

And words self-consciously coined seem to do particularly poorly.  The “Word Fugatives” column in The Atlantic is an example of what I am talking about.  For another, does anyone use “truthiness” in a context that doesn’t include Stephen Colbert?  An example of a wildly successful word that likely is here for the long haul is “blog”.  I have not seen anyone claim credit for it.  My guess is that the first person to use it didn’t realize it was a neologism.

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Posted: 29 June 2007 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Remember that dictionaries tend to run about a decade behind in the adoption of new words. So I would not expect “webumentary” to appear in any standard dictionaries, at least not quite yet. You might have better luck with sites that focus on neologisms, like wordspy.com or doubletongued.org (but in this case they don’t have it.)

When searching for neologisms, one really has to check primary sources. Google Groups turns up about thirty citations going back to 1996. (There are some 1995 uses in a signature, but I’m not sure what that’s referring to). From alt.tv.hbo, 8 Nov 1996 (a reference to a page on hbo.com, not a tv show):

III:am is a “webumentary” that HBO lets me do about what people are up to at
3 in the morning.

Proquest Newspapers turns up an additional 15 citations. The earliest is from the Toronto Star, 11 June 1997:

“We recognize the obligation to entertain on this box,” said Martin Katz, executive producer of the Microsoft Network for Microsoft Canada Inc., showing off his new “webumentary” titled Splice.

I have no doubt that webumentary has been independently coined on several occasions.

(Note: the word “word sponsorship” on etymonline is not a way to get your words onto the site. It’s just a contribution method for people that want to keep the site going--like sponsoring a stretch of highway.)

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Posted: 29 June 2007 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but you did not invent a word.

It already has 11,500 Google hits.
Google News Archive shows a few magazine/newpapers using it back to 1997
Google Groups shows it in Usenet posts from 1995.

The reputable free online dictionaries are not updated instantaneously with new definitions but are usually an online version of printed book version.  For instance, your thefreedictionary site is actually the “American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition” which was published in 2000.

Etymonline was offering to place an ad for your business on an existing word, not to add a new one.

This is not “a national non-profit site” though I don’t suppose Dave makes much money from running it.

[ Edited: 29 June 2007 06:21 AM by Myridon ]
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Posted: 29 June 2007 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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aldiboronti - 29 June 2007 05:38 AM

Inventing words is simplicity itself. Getting people to use those words in great enough numbers and over a long enough period for the dictionaries to recognize them, hic labor, hic opus est. (’There the great task, the mighty labour lies’).

Not to be a Latin grammar Nazi, but “hic” means “here”, “ibi” means “there” :P

I don’t really know much Latin but am trying to learn more; I just wanted the opportunity to apply some of this knowledge for once…

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Posted: 29 June 2007 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Speak to John Dryden, not me. It’s from his great 17th century translation of the Aeneid. (And he wasn’t writing a Loeb-style crib of the original, but a poem that stands gloriously in its own right).

And I misremembered, it’s ‘In this the task and mighty labour lies’. Same argument though, you don’t translate word for word, it would be unreadable.

[ Edited: 29 June 2007 07:49 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 29 June 2007 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have not seen anyone claim credit for it.

Peter Merholz claims credit for it, and it has been generally accepted that he invented the word in early 1999.  See here for his account:

Sometime in April or May of 1999 (I can’t say for sure when I exactly did it), I posted, in the sidebar of my homepage:

“For What It’s Worth
I’ve decided to pronounce the word “weblog” as wee’- blog. Or “blog” for short.”

. . .
‘Blog’ would have likely died a forgotten death had it not been for one thing: In August of 1999, Pyra Labs released Blogger. And with that, the use of “blog” grew with the tool’s success.

First two cites in OED:

[1999 http://www.bradlands.com (weblog diary) 23 May, Cam points out lemonyellow.com and PeterMe decides the proper way to say ‘weblog’ is ‘wee’- blog’ (Tee-hee!).] 1999 P. MERHOLZ in peterme.com (weblog diary) 28 May, For those keeping score on blog commentary from outside the blog community.

[ Edited: 29 June 2007 10:15 AM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 04 July 2007 12:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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So, rhw007, you didn’t invent it, but it works for your poetry. Stay happy.

Re: Blog. The first time I heard the word, I prayed it would die a painful death. It’s still here, and going strong. One never knows which new words will last. The computer world has spawned so many, it makes one’s head spin.

I hated the “dot com” ads that were running in the late ‘90s, and today I take them for granted. I hardly hear them. Our world is changing so fast, and the words are too.

[ Edited: 04 July 2007 12:15 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 04 July 2007 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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One never knows which new words will last.

Allan Metcalf has written an excellent book on this subject: Predicting New Words.

In it he proposes the FUDGE factors that determine whether or not a neologism will actually catch on. These are:

--Frequency of use. A word that is used a lot will be be more likely to stick around. Duh.

--Unobtrusiveness. Words that are obvious inventions are not likely to last. Blog is a unobtrusive, webumentary is not.

--Diversity of users. Not just amount of use, but the number of different users from different fields. The more diverse, the more likely is survival.

--Generation of other forms. Can it be used in compounds and in combinations to create even more words and phrases? We have live blog, video blog, and blogumentary. But webumentary is dead in this respect.

--Endurance of the concept. Will what the word represents last? If the thing fades away, the word is likely to as well. Ripping music will disappear when CDs finally bite the dust in a few years. Mashup, on the other hand, is likely to last. Wardrobe malfunction is already gone--a term for a single incident.

Note that utility is not a factor. How useful a word is doesn’t play into Metcalf’s scheme. (Which explains why we don’t have gender-neutral singular pronouns.)

We can only tell whether Metcalf is right by applying these factors and making predictions about new words, so it will be decades before we can say he is right. But I think he’s on to something.

[ Edited: 04 July 2007 06:51 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 04 July 2007 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dave Wilton - 04 July 2007 06:49 AM

One never knows which new words will last.

Allan Metcalf has written an excellent book on this subject: Predicting New Words.

--Unobtrusiveness. Words that are obvious inventions are not likely to last. Blog is a unobtrusive, webumentary is not.

Infomercial sounds obtrusive to me, given this example, but it seems to have caught on.

Dave Wilton - 04 July 2007 06:49 AM


--Generation of other forms. Can it be used in compounds and in combinations to create even more words and phrases? We have live blog, video blog, and blogumentary. But webumentary is dead in this respect.

Webumentary looks like a generated form from web.  If blogumentary catches on webumentary should, too, if judged by this criterion.

Dave Wilton - 04 July 2007 06:49 AM

--Endurance of the concept. Will what the word represents last? If the thing fades away, the word is likely to as well. Ripping music will disappear when CDs finally bite the dust in a few years. Mashup, on the other hand, is likely to last. Wardrobe malfunction is already gone--a term for a single incident.

Not if the same procedure is, from the point of view of the user, still used.  We still dial phones.

Dave Wilton - 04 July 2007 06:49 AM


Note that utility is not a factor. How useful a word is doesn’t play into Metcalf’s scheme. (Which explains why we don’t have gender-neutral singular pronouns.)

We can only tell whether Metcalf is right by applying these factors and making predictions about new words, so it will be decades before we can say he is right. But I think he’s on to something.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Faldage - 04 July 2007 07:18 AM

Dave Wilton - 04 July 2007 06:49 AM


--Generation of other forms. Can it be used in compounds and in combinations to create even more words and phrases? We have live blog, video blog, and blogumentary. But webumentary is dead in this respect.

Webumentary looks like a generated form from web.  If blogumentary catches on webumentary should, too, if judged by this criterion.

Dave is saying “blog” is a lasting word because it generates other forms, not that the generated forms are lasting themselves.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I see, like comparing apples and orange juice.

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Posted: 04 July 2007 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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We still dial phones.

Speak for yourself!  It’s been decades since I’ve used a dial phone.

Edit: Wait, I guess your point is that we still use the word dial even though we don’t actually dial any more.  Sorry about that.

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