Recent Semantic Changes for the Term "Digital"
The term digital originates from the Latin word for finger/counting and has for many years been used to denote discrete signals and information, as opposed to analog. Discrete representation is an important principle, not only in computers, but also for (printed) text, music scores and even our genes. Recently however, the use of the term has increased and the meaning expanded to include almost everything related to information technology, e.g. digital natives and digital addiction. This study investigates the core principles of digital representation and compares this concept with the recent usage, with a focus on Norwegian media. The purpose is to reveal the apparent meaning of digital in different settings, to see if the original technical concept has changed; and if so, to analyze the semantic change. The results show both synecdoche, ellipsis and indications of folk etymology. As a central concept in the digital revolution, a semantic change could be temporary. In some areas, there are already signs of a post-digital age, and that the excessive use of digital is declining.
Published version, source at http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol3/iss2/16.