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# Are we allowed to make new terms if the English language does not have such terms?

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15 replies to this topic

### #1asperatology  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:04 AM

For example, I have come across a pretty common (or mediocre) usage of vectors in math. Now, in English, cross product is known as the determinant of square matrices, which isn't used to describe similar a similar value for vectors in a 2D environment. Sometimes, when we want to compare two different frames of reference, and we wanted to know if an object is moving either clockwise, or counter-clockwise, we would have to use the cross product and compare it with something for the result. That "something" is a replacement word for "a vector rotation with a specific direction." We have that word, and hopefully you may know some of those words. (Not intented...)

In Danish, the term tværvector is used as follows:

A tværvector is the rotation of a 2D vector 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

Ok, maybe we do have a terminology for that, but in a general form (Source, I believed): The direction of a 90-degrees counterclockwise vector rotation.

Now, expanding outwards away from mathematical terms/linguistics, there are plenty of terms that shortens some English words. I wondered if we are allowed to "invent" new terms, or "borrow" terms from other languages and incorporated them into daily usage? Or maybe even claim a "borrowed" word as our own...

And probably learn something new in this thread.

Edited by tom_mai78101, 07 October 2012 - 02:10 AM.

### #2szecs  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:48 AM

Allowed by who?

### #3SimonForsman  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 05:05 AM

New words are invented all the time, anyone can invent new words, if the new word becomes commonly used it might become an official part of the language. (Allthough not all languages have an official definition as such)
I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

### #4kuramayoko10  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:28 AM

Specific for English, check ou the Merriam Webster Dictionary website.
They specify for each word its popularity and when it was first used.

There are many words (many announced on the homepage) that are invented by celebrities or important figures that are added to the dictionary because a majority of people begins to use it afterwards.

Edited by kuramayoko10, 07 October 2012 - 10:29 AM.

Programming is an art. Game programming is a masterpiece!

### #5Tom Sloper  Moderators

Posted 07 October 2012 - 11:21 AM

Anytime you need to make a new word, simply define it for your listeners/readers.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

### #6phantom  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Specific for English, check ou the Merriam Webster Dictionary website.

*opens website*
*searches for 'colour'*
*gets told is it is the British version of 'color'*

So... you mean American English then ;)

### #7fallenphoenix  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 04:05 PM

Before I turned to programming, I was an (American) English teacher, with a corresponding degree in English. I believe this pretty piece of paper means I'm allowed to decide what is a word and what isn't (it's somewhere in the fine print). Therefore, I am making myself available for evaluation of any words you come up with, pro bono of course. ;)

### #8Heath  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 05:31 PM

Allowed by who?

Grammar nazis, one of which I am not.

It's "whom".

### #9Bacterius  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 05:35 PM

It's "whom".

[source lang="cpp"]#define who whom[/source]
hah!

“If I understand the standard right it is legal and safe to do this but the resulting value could be anything.”

### #10Hodgman  Moderators

Posted 07 October 2012 - 07:49 PM

The best and worst thing about English is that we just steal everyone else's words whenever we need to.

Great for expressiveness, but bad for spelling rules, where you're not sure if the etymology of a particular word is gaelic or latin or dutch, etc, so you don't know what kind of pronunciation rules to apply to the letters...

If you start using words like Tværvektoren in articles, and it catches on (so other people also start using the word), then eventually dictionary authors will recognise that the word is now in common usage and they'll add it to their dictionaries. At this point, it's pretty much officially an English word.

Edited by Hodgman, 07 October 2012 - 07:53 PM.

### #11Bregma  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:25 PM

Ever since English has become the lingua franca of the technical world it has become filled with kludges and coined words like 'eigenvector.'

What we really need is a central committee to decide what is correct English and what isn't, like the French have. Proper Canadian English, of course, not that snotty pompous British stuff or the lazy half-assed American stuff. Of course, by the time the Aussies and Kiwis and Africans have figured out what's going on it'll all be too late and every call centre in India will have converted.

With the proper committee in place, all you will have to do is apply for a new word, pay a small fee, and wait. It's just that easy.
Stephen M. Webb
Professional Free Software Developer

### #12asperatology  Members

Posted 07 October 2012 - 11:24 PM

Hm... Sounds like a good stable market for startups on making new English words for a fee. The more I think of it, without applying common sense, patenting the idea of creating English words seems like a douche but profitable plan.

### #13slayemin  Members

Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:52 PM

Hm... Sounds like a good stable market for startups on making new English words for a fee. The more I think of it, without applying common sense, patenting the idea of creating English words seems like a douche but profitable plan.

I love software patents! They are a great way to foster innovation and technological growth! I will claim patents for the word "the" and the letter "e". If you want to use my word or my letter, you're going to need my permission -- which I can deny if it competes with my own interests, and if there isn't a conflict of interest, I will charge you for their use! Since the word "the" contains the letter "e", you'll get double charged for its use. its two different patents! Since I own both patents, I can make the rules on their use (however arbitrary). If you use my patents without my permission, I will sue your pants off in court and block your paper/text from my market because its illegal!

While I'm at it, I think it'd be a good practice to start combining every possible letter combination which isn't already taken (a few simple for loops should do it) and patent the results. Once I have those patented, I can start sending patent infringement notices to every english speaker. They may or may not have infringed on my patent, but settling for $5 with me is cheaper than paying a lawyer by the hour to fight me in court. To the OP: No, you may not invent new terms and words! Language is static and the language police will never allow it! ...and you'd infringe on my newly patented words. To any subsequent replies: If your reply is critical of me or my interests and uses my patented word or letter, you're in violation of my patent. Non-critical replies will be charged a$50 infraction fee for each usage of the word "the" or if its a subset of a larger word using it ("their", "there", "thespian", "other", etc.) and \$2.72 for use of my patented letter "e" (because I like the Euler constant).

Now, let's have 10 page replies on why we love patents

### #14Heath  Members

Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:10 PM

slaymin, patnts r lam bro, stifls human progrss and---

I can't do this, what is the fee? *grumbles and picks open wallet*

### #15slayemin  Members

Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:39 PM

slaymin, patnts r lam bro, stifls human progrss and---

I can't do this, what is the fee? *grumbles and picks open wallet*

Illegal post! It's critical of my view and interests in controlling the market space!

In all seriousness though, we need some serious patent law reform/abolishment. The system we have in place right now has grown ridiculous. "Fostering innovation"? yeah, right...

### #16way2lazy2care  Members

Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:45 AM

This reminded me of this:

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