Comment of the Day: JJ Abrams and the Case of the Disappearing Words

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Today, we compared cliff notes on the classic novels we just can't make it through, asked when we would finally be able to 3D print a wooly mammoth skeleton of our very own (today!), and weighed the truth of J.J. Abrams' number one pet peeve about futuristic fiction.


In this post, we looked at a quote from J.J. Abrams musing on the one thing that bothers him most about movies set in the future: the language. Will terms like hard drive and memory cartridge (or even the tech itself) really still be hanging around fifty or more years from now?

Turns out, perhaps!

It's not like we don't keep anachronistic terminology around to refer to similar things that fulfill the same role. Language actually does work that way. Cars no longer literally have a trunk strapped to them, but (North American) English speakers still call the storage area in the back a trunk. Or, to pick on British English, a torch (flashlight) is not what is historically called a torch (I know this is shortened from "electric torch", but it still serves to illustrate the point). — raiju

We use plenty of obsolete phrases today. People dial a phone, roll down a car window, or sail the seas on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. — Spaceknight

I've always loved that the "save" icon in many programs is still a 3.5" diskette, when a lot of younger people using computers may have never seen one. —Christopher Dunn

And, finally, from Grand Moff Talkin', a Star Trek-themed question:

Does he mean like driving a 1968 Corvette, talking on a Nokia phone while listening to Beastie Boys' SABOTAGE?



What do you think about Abrams thoughts on language and the future? Share your take in the comments now.


Image: Kenny Louie



I don't mind the disk thing as much as I do cliche' phrases. For example, I remember when I watch an episode of Andromeda and a character, far far in the future uttered the words "See ya. Wouldn't want to be ya."

It completely took me out of the moment.