Re: e-mail or email?

Subject: Re: e-mail or email?
From: Bill Burns <WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 08:12:42 MDT

Tim McGee said:

>The trend will, most likely, be toward omitting the hyphen for the same reason
that "high school" became "high-school" became "highschool."

I'm not sure which dictionary you're using, but my online (there's a neologism
for you) dictionary spells "high school" as two words. In fact, I've never
seen the term spelled as one word (unless as a misspelling) or as a hyphenated
term (unless the words were used as a compound adjective). No doubt the
continued use of that compound could possibly evolve into a single term. The
chances for e-mail are more likely, especially since many people never give
a second thought to what the "e" stands for. However, English also has a
tradition of maintaining spelling conventions even when they no longer represent
standard pronunciation (e.g. cough, though, colonel).

I think the point was made earlier about penultimate stress. Since we stress
the first letter and because we'd most likely not want to try to accelerate
the degradation of the term from "ee-mail" to "ehmail," we should separate the
"e" from mail with a hyphen. Reserving this form will also help maintain the
metaphor from which the term originated (i.e. electronic mail).

Bill Burns *
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * "Purgamentum init,
Micron Technology, Inc. * exit purgamentum."
Boise, ID *
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Henricus Barbatus

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