Friday, April 07, 2006

Gaming -gami

I'm in a bit of rush today -- about to change continents -- but did want to throw down a "let it be known" post on yet another cran-morph bustin' out all over. (Warning: All views in this post subject to the Recency Illusion.)

Today's morpheme: -gami. As I say, hurry today, but two examples:
  • Microsoft's new ultra-mobile computer had the working name Origami, at least, until the marketing people got hold of it and christened it ... the Ultra-Mobile PC.1
  • Aaron Swartz is in the process of starting a company named Infogami. The company aims to make setting up a Web site very, very simple.

MS's use is just recasting an ordinary noun as a name. Swartz actually takes the step of decomposing the term. So what's the common semantic, I wonder? Small? Folding? Make cool things out of simple materials? I can't quite pull the instances together.


1 If my eyes do not deceive me -- but it's early -- the Microsoft page is the 2nd hit on Google for "origami," yet the word is not visible on the page itself. (Presumably in the page for the likes of Google to find.) A good example of making sure people can find your info using the term that they know.

I see also that MS is feeding its successful (?) viral marketing campaign with a faux-independent Web site, wherein the class of thing that Origami is is referred to as UMPC. Looks odd as yet.

1 comment:

Blake Stacey said...

Benjamin Zimmer over at Language Log picked this up and quotes a comment to the effect that gami means "paper" while ori means "fold". Infogami thus boils down to "paper information", a concept disturbingly redolant of the twentieth century. Either Ori/Info or Info/Ori would be a better choice, I think, both for etymology and for euphony.