Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 10:49:54 -0400

From: Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU

Subject: Re: Etymology of _Hoosier_


Thanks for your interesting message. My comments referred to historical

truth rather than "psycholinguistic, morphological" truth.

I fear that, as we move into the Age of the Internet, and fewer and fewer

people have any understanding of the notion of matters of history and

etymology being provable by documented primary sources, the historical

truths of etymology will become more and more buried beneath the mounds of

popular conjecture. My sister-in-law read in a computer text that the

term _bug_ 'hardware or software defect' originated because Grace Murray

Hopper found a moth in an early computer. No amount of my explaining that

Thomas Edison used essentially the same term in the 1800s could shake her

conviction that this story was correct. Current trends in the

preservation (i.e., non-preservation) and dissemination of information

will only increase the difficulty of such discussions.