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Order History on Amaazon is a ready made diary

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Cover of Web-Based Training, a book I bought from Amazone in 1999

To my horror, curioisty had be click on Order History in Amazon (actually it  was simply to locate a book that got sent to the wrong address). To my surprise I found that Amazon has a total archive of everything ever purchased. This takes me back to 1999. I thought I'd first gone onto Amazone 2000 when I bought books for everyone. 

Web-Based Training had me thinking of moving out of 'video based training' which I had done very successfully for the best part of 13 years. I'd already produced a few interactive DVDs: something for independent financial advisers paid for by Standard Life bank in Edinburgh comes to mind.

The following March (2000) I moved to Brighton to work for Worth Media as their 'Digital Editor'. The year after, February 2001 I started the MA in Open & Distance Learning with The Open University. If only I had completed that module, if only I had overcome the challenges of Worth Media having to line up a lot of staff to make redundant and got myself out of the firing line ... if only.

Never mind. I've learnt many life lessons and as a friend says, "it isn't over yet" and as my wife says "you've still got plenty of time". 

I'm not going to direct that drama series or win an Olympic medal, but I might produce or associate produce some drama, could sail single-handed across the Channel ... even pursue an PhD in education at the University of Sussex.

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Design Museum

Making up e-words

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 04:11

Why is it so easy for English speakers to create words if one doesn’t exist.

‘Web-based learning’ or ‘e-learning’ ?

Which do you prefer?

Does it matter so long as we have a good idea of what it means and entails.  ‘e-tyres’, which I saw ten minutes ago on a van, confounds the logic of 'e-mail' or 'e-forum', it is easy to understand its meaning - ‘buy tyres here online’ (rather than ‘electronically enhanced tyres.’) But when was English ever logical?

The ‘Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language’ talks about word-building or ‘compounding’. This is possible we are told because of the way the Old English vocabulary builds up through the process of affixation and compounding.

A prefix I wasn’t aware was one is ‘to’ as on the English prefix we see in ‘today, towards and together.’

One from my home town, so clearly embedded in its Danish roots is ‘gan’ as in ‘go’ which is used on Tyneside as in the Geordie for go home ‘gan yem’.

The readiness to build up words from a number of parts is a feature that has stayed with English ever since.

In English we tend to concertina words, to simply them. If it can be understood in one syllable, then this works best of all.

Most English vocabulary arises by making new words out of old ones – either by adding an affix to previously existing forms, altering their word class, or combining them to produce compounds. Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language. (1995:128)

Common affixes are:


I think there has to be something poetic, something logical, simple, immediately understood and that rolls naturally off the tongue. Web-based learning, web-based training, web-based virtual asynchronous communication ‘Web/VAC’ have had their day (a decade even, 1995-2005). We will ‘google’ forever – no need here for e-search (was that ever used?) and 'to yahoo; would not do. Or e-encyclopaedia when we had Britannica Online and now have Wikipedia.

Never hyper-learning, though if we create the holy grail of game-like learning for the current generation of net-savvy, game-savvy, texting, blogging, social-networking kids then ‘hyper-tivity’ could be exactly what would describe their engagement. I watch and listen in to my son’s antics on the X-box, using Skype, online to the world, organising games, while clicking through web-pages for the latest ‘cheat’ and viewing YouTube ‘how to ...’ Training or Learning?

Terms can be made to change their word class without the addition of an affix – a process known as conversion nouns from verbs – verbs from nouns.

‘e’ isn’t a prefix, it’s a compound of ‘electronic and/or enhanced’, that has been abbreviated to ‘e-‘.

Does it matter?

If it is in common usage and it is understood then whether it follows a rule or a former pattern or not means nada. The great thing with English is that anything goes. What counts is whether people adopt a word and if it sticks. and gets into everyday usage.

‘A compound is a unit of vocabulary which consists of more than one lexical stem. The parts are functioning as a single item which has its own meaning and grammar.' (Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language. (1995:120)


Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language. 1995



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