Sira-sira store: New names-A A +A
By Ober Khok
Saturday, October 20, 2012
With each change at how society lives, man has invented new ways of calling old dogs as a response.
One classic response is the word “typing.” Today no one dares tell the offi ce secretary— an old word also because they are now called “executive assistants”—to ype a hard copy of a document and to save it in the computer. You say, “Please, encode this hard copy of a report from XYZ company. I wonder why they didn’t send us the soft copy.”
Now we have two phrases that need some explaining (in case you have been living under a rock all these years).
A hard copy is an actual document, a piece of real paper, a photograph, and so on; while a soft copy is an electronic version of a photograph, for example, that the sender conveys through an e-mail, a USB, a disc or some other mode.
Oh boy, that’s another phrase. An electronic version is the new way of saying “a copy sent by e-mail, and the like.”
Telegrams have become obsolete and they are now called text messages. This is completely my own idea, so you can refute me. And why are text messages the new telegrams.
My Uncle Gustav said that those who were teenagers in the 1970s can remember their parents receiving telegrams from relatives living in other parts of the country. Telegrams were very brief messages, just like text messages.
One could read: “Snd mony stop yor cosin sck stop nid 2moro stop,” and you had to find a way to fi t in a closing remark like “love” plus your name because it would have been rude to ask for money without even saying you loved the benefactor.
Sadly though, if there were only enough letters left for your name, you had to drop “love.” What a heartless system, but that’s how the world of communication worked in my uncle’s day.
The word “stop” replaced the period because this punctuation mark was counted as one letter, my uncle told me, and the sender was charged for every word. There was a minimum length to a note, just like in today’s text messages for a one-peso greeting. You were charged for every word in excess. That is why telegram-users had the habit of abbreviating words. It was truly the forerunner of text messages, only it was typewritten on a piece of real paper.
Many typists lost their jobs with the arrival of cell phones and virtual chats. That’s another word—“typist.” They are now called “encoders.” I am not saying that these new breed of clerks will soon go the way of the dodo, but it is possible.
Now even in my world, the space in time called culinary arts, people who inhabit it have found new ways of calling certain foods.
I heard someone describe a dish as “deep sea fi sh, fried in virgin vegetable oil and served on a bed of julienned ginger, red bell pepper and garlic sautéed to perfection and drizzled with sweet-sour pan juices.” He was referring to the escabeche.
Another dish is described as “a fresh garden harvest of green leafy vegetables and young squash cooked in a rich soup made of fi sh base with fi ne notes of lemon grass” or simply put, utan Bisaya. A fi sh sour is not a salad but your favorite inun-unan. A bowl of marrow medley is nothing but bulalo. In the end, we eat the products of our imagination and think of new ways of calling them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 20, 2012.