Where did the word “spam” come from? How in the world did the “Blackberry” get its name?
Sydney Writers’ Centre managing director Valerie Khoo talks to 99.3FM’s Tom Furey in this short radio segment about how the internet has evolved the English language.
You can listen to a podcast of the radio segment here:[audio:http://www.writingbar.com/wp-content/uploads/Valerie_Spam.mp3|titles=Radio interview: New words]
Duration: 5.43 minutes
Apart from abbreviations we’ve become familiar with like LOL (laugh out loud) and LMFO (laughing my face off), we talk about how spam evolved from being known as a canned luncheon meat to the annoying emails that fill our inboxes.
We talk about the origin of blogs, how we “don’t have enough bandwidth” when we’re too busy and how the word “Blackberry” came into being.
The word BlackBerry came about when smartphone makers Research in Motion commissioned an agency to help them come up with a name for this product. They brainstormed words associated with doing enjoyable things. (Research apparently showed that words linked to the word “email” could increase blood pressure!)
One of the suggestions was “picking strawberries.” Somebody suggested that the word “strawberry” sounded a bit slow. The “blackberry” was put forward as an alternative. They felt that the keys on the device a bit like blackberries.
We also reveal where the word “captcha” comes from – the code you often need to type into web forms to prove you’re a human and not a spam bot.
Captcha stands for:
Completely Automated Public Touring test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
And of course, we have to include the noun that has now been classified as a verb by dictionaries around the world: Google.