Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Updation Celebration

Twice recently people have forwarded email messages with a term of note:

The problem I am having is to have the changes reflected back to the database table. i.e. updation.

We suggest you to please contact xxxxx for the updation.

It's pretty clear to me where this is coming from. In the first instance especially, updation is one of the four basic database operations: select, insert, delete, update. The other three have nice nominal forms: selection, insertion, deletion. Update is, uh, ... update. The temptation to make a form parallel with the rest is very strong.

In fact, it's a strong enough temptation that Google gets 195,000 hits, with much un-self-conscious use for the term:

I note that most of the instances I see are in informal contexts -- blogs or forum posts.

In searching for cites, I also found a forum post entitled "Updation is not a word." Yeah, well ... not yet.


Anonymous said...

Just saw this today...

From a job listing; specifically, one of the tasks you'd be expected to complete:

- Updation of training material for use by training partners worldwide.


Anonymous said...

I hate it when someone uses a longer form of a word when the more simple form would suffice. This drives me nuts, i.e. "The feature
described below allows updation of provisioning information...". Why not just say "..allows the update of..".

WordzGuy said...

Well, as noted, I personally have seen it most often in a context where it brings parallelism to "selection, insertion, deletion, and [xxx]". Apparently the desire for a neat pattern is strong enough to get people to invent, or at least use, an alternate.

Anonymous said...

To counter the anonymous post above, the "shorter" text he suggests is actually two characters longer. He is suggesting replacing "updation" with "the update." Updation has 8 characters, whereas "the update" has 10 characters, if you count the space. It wouldn't sound right to say "The feature described below allows update of provisioning information..." So, you can add little words to shoe-horn in update, or you can use "updation," which, evidently, has become a word, according to a few IT and Indian-English dictionaries on the net...

Anonymous said...

I have encounter notes on our customer's account from our technical department 'updation' is included. Though the sentences forms sounds more like bad english than correct (evolving) english. but out of curiousity. I found this:
Main Entry: updation
Part of Speech: n
Definition: updating; the act or process of bringing up-to-date
Usage: informal

updation: n. [Information Technology] updating
from http://www.vsubhash.com/die.asp?word=updation

WordzGuy said...

Evolving language more-or-less by definition will sound "bad" to some set of speakers who have not yet adopted a new form.

Anonymous said...

Updation is an Indian English. Get used to it. It sticks in my throat to pronounce it this way, but globalization takes its toll.

For more info:

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the Indian English comment. I work for an Indian company and I'm constantly bombarded with automated emails from systems telling me about "expense approval updation". But worse than this are all the 'Intimations' that I receive and being told to 'revert' to people with the required information.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed Indian English, like 'upgradation'

n said...

It is indeed Indian Enlish, like 'upgradation'

Anonymous said...

I work in IT an see bad grammar constantly from overseas. The problem is they tend to create words to try to make a sentence sound right rather then learn the proper usage. to counter anonymous, yes in your example "The feature described below allows update of provisioning" this does not sound right and in an elementary school English class they would instead write the sentence as, "The feature described below allows updating of the provisioning" system. Your version would receive an F in class. Taking the easy way is the lazy way. Just as in the U.S. in some of the southern states you might here people say ya'll come back. If you are going to work with people learn their language not try to change it to your way of thinking.

WordzGuy said...

>an see bad grammar constantly from overseas

It's a different dialect, and the term is ok in that dialect.

Note that this blog is not about good or bad grammar; it's about how English is changing. And we absolutely don't believe in the idea of "lazy" usage: