Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

18 janvier 2012

Hacking: Without words

Hacking is not my thing. I fit the category of the 'non-technical' (open government) advocates. Here, I will not talk about technical stuff, but other things that occur when we face emerging new innovative practices. A non-technical suggestion...

When I read the discussions about this article, I realized there exists differences between practices in this field that are still designated by a single word, because new disciplines have been recently created.

For example, hacking translates as 'piratage informatique' in French. Hacker, translates as 'pirate informatique' or pirate.

This does not mean that the people that use these these words are wrong. Or that they are amateurs. I do not think that we should automatically adopt anglicisms happily, if there is a void of words in one given language.

I believe it simply means that there is a need to invent new words, and add these new words to the dictionary of a language. New words emerge under certain conditions, before they get enshrined in dictionaries.

There are government agencies, whose mission is to define and lead policy regarding formalization of language and terminology. There are agencies whose mission is also to monitor the evolution of the language situation in a given geographical area.

There are two types of new words:
• First type, those derived from a spontaneous oral production, that could be called in vivo.
• Second type, those derived from an artificial production, created deliberately and collectively by committees of experts in all fields of technology, to describe technological innovations.

Regarding the field of hacking, new words would correspond to the second type.

Nowadays, to refer to technical and scientific innovations, terminology commissions formed by areas of expertise (automotive, telecommunications, aeronautics, computers, etc.) in different departments, create new words from scratch for specific terms. These words are somehow helped to be born.

'Experts' identify concepts that correspond to new practices, and propose new terms and their definitions to a general commission of terminology, which, often in partnership with an academy or a community, will validate or invalidate the new proposed words, and will publish them in an official publication.

Communities can play the role of such 'experts', and therefore not only help to define new horizons for the future, but also define new words for several languages.

Of course, I am no expert in the field of hacking. But I saw this: there might be a need to create new words describing this field. This should be brought to the attention of commissions mandated for this mission.

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