There was some revelation in my life when I discovered
that the instruction MOVE (like in Cobol: MOVE A TO B)
didn't mean "move" at all, but "copy". When you have
moved A to B, A remains A. So why use the verb "move",
and not "copy" ? I have no idea.

The same with instructions like: A = B, which in
reality mean "copy B to A". Even more disturbing when
"=" also really means "equals", like in "IF A = B

--- Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> --- John Cowan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Carsten Becker scripsit:
> >
> > > My question is already posted in the header of
> > this mail: Why does the
> > > meaning of words change during the centuries,
> > sometimes even radically?
> <snip>
> > In our own time, the word "store" (in the sense
> > "storage facility")
> > has been out-competed by the metaphorical term
> > "memory" for the device
> > a computer uses to keep track of its ones and
> zeros?
> >  Why?  Americans
> > generally speaking out-competed the British in the
> > early days of the
> > computer industry.  But why did the Americans
> choose
> > a metaphorical
> > term, the British a literal one?
> I think the main "reason" for this choice is that
> the
> phrase "computer store" would have been hoplessly
> confusing if it had been used to refer both to
> computer memory and to a retail shop that sells PCs.
> I remember back when I first started programming in
> 1963 the terms "memory", "store", "storage", "RAM",
> and "core" were all used interchangibly, although in
> the US "storage" was more popular than "store".  I
> suspect this was because phrases like "store into
> store" just don't sound right where "store into
> storage" sounds better.
> Also, "store" sounds like a singular as in "the
> store", but to a programmer thinking of memory as
> plural or as a mass noun makes more sense logically.
> Thus "store" doesn't express the "massness" of the
> noun.  Even from the very beginning as a newbie
> programmer in the 60's I was uncomfortable with
> "store", but I can't tell you why.  It was being
> used
> by my peers, but is grated on my ears.  I prefered
> "storage", but that one faded away too.  Then
> gradually over the years "RAM" and "memory" seemed
> to
> edge out the others.
> --gary

Philippe Caquant

"High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs)

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