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Are Tech Terms Taking Over?

Aug 30, 2019 Posted by: Dwills Trends
Apple technology

At EMH Technology we work hard to ensure we talk in plain English. We try to avoid the buzz words, jargon and abbreviations that can alienate those using IT yet not working within the IT sector.

“This is incredibly important to us,” explains Eric Hughes of EMH Technology. “When you need help with an IT solution or to resolve an IT problem, jargon can be alienating and confusing. By speaking in plain English, everyone understands what’s involved and required.”

railway platform edge

However, a recent study shows that the trend for ‘tech speak’ has changed direction! Technology is taking over some ‘everyday’ words, so much so that 25% of parents and grandparents are concerned their children may lose the original meaning of words. This is particularly true when it comes to nature.

Technology Terms & Nature

There are many instances of how nature’s language has been hijacked by technology. Obvious examples are the brand names of Apple, Nectar and Amazon (chosen for the comfort and familiarity the names evoke). However these names have not become synonymous with their ‘original’ meanings. Technology has had a greater impact on other terms.

When we use the word “tweet” just 1% of us are referring to birdsong (National Trust).

Similarly, just 36% of us mean “a little river” when we use the word “stream”. Interestingly, this was 100% of us in the 1990s. Technology has definitely had an impact.

Apple technology

Dr Robbie Love, a linguistics fellow at the University of Leeds, conducted the study. He told BBC News: “A lot of new tech is abstract and difficult to understand, which makes it ripe for metaphor. Stream nicely describes the idea of information flowing into our devices – and without the word, it would be hard to describe this complex process.”

Cloud technology symbol

“Cloud” is another great example of where technology is taking over the original meaning of a word. Use of the word referring to nature has dropped by 25%, with the technology reference being used by children from the age of 10. “These words are so well known and common across language but also can be adapted in this rich way,” said Dr Love. “We can see a cloud hanging above us, while cloud computing is harder to fathom.”

Back to Basics

While there seems no harm in words taking on multiple meanings, it is important that everyone involved in a conversation is using the same one. “This is especially important within technology,” says Eric. “Differing interpretations of words such as “users”, “mobile devices”, “application” and “cloud security” can create problems when delivering support or creating IT solutions. It’s vital that everyone has the same understanding. Even as technology terms become part of everyday conversation, EMH Technology will aim to be a jargon-free zone. Plain English and straightforward conversations will always be essential to us.”

Would you value a refreshingly clear conversation about your technology? From support to solutions, the EMH Technology team is here to help. Contact us for an initial discussion without obligation… or jargon!

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