Meanings of Digital

The debate is recurrent, and it is not an article using the digital word without the long-awaited answer “digital is with the fingers, in France we say digital.” This is also the opinion of the French Academy that “the word digital in French means” belonging to the fingers, refers to the fingers. ” It comes from the Latin digitalis, “which has the thickness of a finger,” itself derived from digitus, “finger”. This is because we counted on her fingers that this Latin name was also shot in English, digit,  “figure”, and digital, “which uses numbers.”

Meanings of Digital

In French should therefore use digital. It is a widely shared view and defended by some. Johann Duriez-Setting High-Tech Europe 1 journalist believes for example that “the word” Digital “is an English term meaning” with your fingers. ” However, it is now used, mistakenly so, to designate all that to relate to Digital. This is ultimately a bad translation of the French communications agencies who, by dint of juggling English and French words, found it easier to use the same word in both languages.”

But if the reviews seem settled on the use of a word, they are rarely documented and argued. So we close linguistic specialists and semantic / semiotics in order to have their opinion on the matter. And their answers are quite surprising since they are contrary to what advocates the French Academy. Here are the opinions of Typhoon Baal Hamon who wishes to remain anonymous but is studying the language for years (you can find his writings on his blog) and Anthony Mathe, doctor of sciences of language and communication sciences, lecturer Celsa Paris-Sorbonne and 5, and associate researcher at Celsa-Sorbonne (laboratory Gripic). He is particularly interested in the world of communications, media and branding, and particularly given the advice to brands. You can find him or visit his writings on songaah.

Meanings of Digital 1

Meanings of Digital 2

Meanings of Digital 3

Why can we use digital and digital?

Typhoon Baal Hammon: Regarding the words “digital” and “digital”, the two do seem to be more or less in competition. It turns out that the two words have come to cover roughly the same things, ie roughly all electronic equipment using binary representations. Note that neither of them had the sense to base, and this is a recent development that they have acquired this sense, as, presumably, most of the vocabulary of this area (apart apart neologisms, of course). I also want to emphasize one point: the etymology of a word gives us in any case the “true meaning”. The meaning of words fluctuates and evolves perfectly natural and sometimes highly unpredictable: the purist who insists on using a word in a now totally obsolete meaning is exactly like someone would invent a word to any room and be surprised that is not comprehended it.

Anthony Mathe: If you talk about a website or a mobile application, I guess it is more appropriate to speak of experience digital, device digital, or from digital innovation rather than device or experience digital. We’ll talk however more accurately display shows a digital or digital industry, digital companies. The context that we will favor one or the other. The heart of the problem in French, is that digital has many meanings, from which some ambiguities or gray areas today that partly explain why we turn to digital on the Anglo-Saxon model including language digital agencies or officials in digital brands.

French, digital opposes analog is its mathematical sense. This is the difference between arithmetic and algebra. By extension, we speak of cinema Digital , its digital , as opposed to cinema classic or its analog . This is the data processing, calculation, dematerialization underlying this qualification. If there are many notable and significant nuances on the semantic or etymological same level, it is mainly the language in use (this is how we speak in language) that seem interesting because they allow to go far in understanding the complexity of the language. There is talk of digital industry and digital practice, even if there is nothing completely systematic. The key here though is to me: basic values to one side, use values of the other. The figure versus hand, to return to etymology. Digital tends to refer to technological fact, the discrete dimension of technology, one that manipulate engineers and remain intangible.

Digital concern seems rather in the user experience of this digital technology. With digital, you pass to the other side of the screen. The Anglo-Saxon influences helping also, I understand why the agencies themselves as digital agencies, not as digital agencies. Look at what is at stake with the terms scanning and digitizing and see that digital and digital are not synonymous. Digitization refers to the data carrier change (movies, images, recordings), its dematerialization and digitalization communication via intangible media, access to digital. No one will speak of scanning a mark (except archives) while the digitalization of the brand is an ongoing change in its overall communication device. Admittedly, this is a clean sociolect marketing and agencies, but it is no less significant. It should consider the difference digital / digital as a tension, not as a binarism. Geeks like hackers pass from use to encode and vice versa. Digital and digital culture culture are obviously linked. But these few imaginary grades are not provided unnecessary. The digital imaginary language is related to the experiential dimension and use while the digital imaginary language is related to the industry and encoding. If the language use continue to explore, we see that it could very well qualify as an application digital and digital, without being in the pure redundancy.

It would focus on technology, and on usability to explain the value. However, it is unthinkable to return to speak of a non-compact digital application or non-digital digital application. The two seem related, as the front and back of a blank page, to borrow a famous Saussure metaphors.

Finally, do not forget the missing term: web . The web is only a specific aspect of digital and digital, but it remains the most common. Another survey sémiolinguistique to lead.

From a purely semantic / linguistic point of view, we must focus on one or the other?

TYB: There is absolutely no linguistic reason to prefer one of the two words to another. In general, language is not to dictate the ways of speaking people, but to study them as they are, and the truth is that the correction in this field is simply a matter of taste. That so and so found a horrible mistake may not even be identified by its neighbor. That does not mean that the language does not follow rules, but the rules that govern truly are rules that speakers unconsciously follow. The only valid answer can a linguist when asked if a form is correct, is “if it is used, it is correct. If it is not used, it may be correct. ” Linguistics, the scientific study of language, has many questions to ask about these two words: how did it took its current meaning, which employs them and in what contexts, etc … But there is no question of the prioritize, that, it is purely the subjectivity of each.  the language can sometimes inform this subjectivity, for example, by providing a common word is more intelligible than a rare word or a neologism, but even then it is a matter of taste:

One may want to choose a rare word for whatever reason, even though it will be less easily understood. In summary, the choice of using “digital”, “digital” or both is totally personal , and it is, in my opinion, ridiculous to want to impose. (On this issue, I can refer you to one of my texts.

AM: From a linguistic point of view, it is the use that should motivate attested to choose one term over the other, according to the message, context or simply of his interlocutor (my great -mother knows but probably not the digital digital word). And a semantic point of view, two words used to introduce shades and neither poetry nor the thought will not go blame it on the semantics! Language like all other sciences of language is not prescriptive, it is primarily descriptive. She observes, she investigated, she studied phenomena to clear the facts; she tries to understand to explain (or the reverse, according to linguistic currents). As I have laughed when the French Academy has prescribed the use of digital and explained that digital is not appropriate.They point out that digital fine French and English digital have senses that do not overlap, it is clear that their purpose is!

Anyway, the French Academy is prescriptive, normative and has a grudge against anglicisms and any form of neologism. I think they do not live in our world and that their ideology is non-linguistic definition. In addition, better not be anglophile with them. It must be remembered that a few years they advocated using the neologism “vacancelles” to replace the term “weekend”. On ridiculous nameless.

The meaning of it is two identical words today?

TYB: The meaning of these two words is not the same for the reason that they are both polysemic (particularly “digital”).

Nevertheless, in the direction in which they find themselves in competition, the difference is not obvious to see, and only a detailed study of their contexts of occurrence could afford to really answer this question. My personal and subjective view was that “digital” connoted a bit the 1980 Google Ngrams rather indicates a peak around 1970 , and can be seen after a fall, he now regaining ground, even if the curve stops 2008 ( “digital” is used, but it is also more polysemic, so it is perhaps irrelevant).

The use of digital rather than digital is becoming widespread.The digital word he has still a chance to resist, or he will inevitably become obsolete following the adoption of the digital word?

TYB: In terms of whether digital will continue to lose ground, it is possible, but it does not seem inevitable: I think it is more often used than digital.

One can imagine all sorts of scenarios for the future. Maybe one of them will win and the other will become obsolete.

Maybe one will take a more specialized meaning than the other. Maybe one will instead be used in a certain socio-cultural or geographical context (see the famous study on the distribution of employment between chocolate croissant and chocolate croissant).

Maybe “digital” will prevail in jobs adjectival together triumph “digital” in substantivized jobs, ie when we say “digital”.

(Note that until now I have never read or heard the “digital” in this sense, although it may also exist).

In short, no one knows what tomorrow will bring, especially not me.

You master the English language, the Channel also do we ask these questions, or what kind of linguistic quarrels are they purely French?

AM: To be honest, I have not seen such ideological debates in England. In the world of agencies and brands, the English language is above all pragmatic, functional and fairly unsubtle. I identified two rules:

  1. The simplest is often seen as the most effective.
  2. If this is fun in addition to being effective, it is more relevant.However, in the real world, from one city to another, one pub to another, friends or in people, language variation is much more pronounced and surprising in the world of work and English without comparison with France: the spoken language then reveals nuances, accents, excessively rich origins.You speak English in your city and your environment with a significantly different lexicon. The language is anchoring.

And last so rejuvenating, this is what we call the ordinariness , the everyday language made of humor, irony, cynicism, reference, nuances, subtlety. The cult of the everyday and the mundane (without any pejorative) is a fascinating culture, much more subtle than the clogs of the French Academy.