use of the word "invokes"

Subject: use of the word "invokes"
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 11:22:22 EST

Now _there's_ a word with magical connotations! I use it myself, though,
and don't think twice about it.

I think the reason is that a lot of the stuff that happens in a computer is
"magical", in the sense that there are objects and processes interacting
in ways that, if they were in our physical world, they would be considered
magic (eg objects appearing or disappearing, simple commands that initiate
a complex and continuing reaction, etc).

So, rather than create a whole new vocabulary to describe this virtual world
of daemons and invocations, we re-use the existing vocabulary, recycling it
from superstition into science (no offense intended to those with different
belief systems).

By the way, this is a totally separate issue from the use of the word "appears"
IMHO, because "appears" still doesn't have any magical connotations for me
(except perhaps through the back way, via "disappears").

On a totally uncalled-for tangent, have you ever read Gene Wolf's series
(Book of the New Sun? starts with Shadow of the Torturer)? It has a similar
juxtaposition of modern technology (far-future setting) and archaic
terminology (much of the language is downright baroque). He chose to
recycle words that had fallen into disuse, rather than invent new ones. An
interesting choice, IMO, and a successful one to boot.


Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Information Developer
IBM Canada

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