Re: First known use of the word, "email" (1978)

From: N. Ganesan <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 03:05:40 -0800

On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 7:39 PM, Philippe Verdy <> wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 5:53 AM, Clive Hohberger <> wrote:
> > BTW, the routine capitalization of 'E' in E-mail came in the 1990's from
> > William Safire's "On Language" column in the NY Times newspaper: He made
> > the
> > analogy with "T-shirt"
> Is this capitalisation of "T-shirt" mandatory ? (of course the shape of
> the letter recalls the shape of the suit) I've seen frequently "t-shirt"
> (sometimes "tee-shirt" as well) when the term was lexicalized, with a
> pronunciation and understanding by itself, without reference to the shape
> the letter (which is not always the actual shape of the suit).
> The lexicalization make the capitalization no longer necessary for
> understanding. The same is true for "E-mail" and it's normal to adopt then
> the normal capitalization.

For decades, e-mail has been in use, and now further shrunk to email.

N. Ganesan

On Shiva Aiyadurai's first use of the term in 1978, email for networked
messages, apparently Indians and lexicographers do care to know.

> The same phenomenum occurs when abbreviations become acronyms (not spelled
> letter by letter) : letters after the initial are frequently written in
> lowercase (e.g. in French "Insee" instead of "INSEE") and even the first
> initial may become lowercase by the lexicalisation process (e.g. in French
> where the recent "PACS" abbreviation was rapidly changed to an acronym
> "Pacs", and lexicalized as the common noun "pacs", with derived terms :
> conjugated forms of the regular 1st group verb "pacser").
Received on Wed Nov 28 2012 - 05:09:25 CST

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