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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-02-09 21:59:19

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2211

latency << late

There is no “late” in “latency.” “Latency” derives from the Latin latere, to hide or lie hidden, via the polysyllabic backroads of the Romance languages. The monosyllabic “late,” in contrast, arrives in English via direkt Autobahn. If “late” were any more Teutonic, it would be playing a polka on the accordion and swilling beer from a stein.

Hearing “late” in “latency” is probably a semantic compulsion. Latency is, after all, a kind of lateness in getting started.

But how do we know that English speakers hear “late” in “latency?” Proving hidden eggcorns be difficult. With “late/latency,” though, we have a tendentious misspelling that we can call as witness. We find on the net a score or more examples of “latetency” and “latetancy” doing duty for “latency.” A handful of them:

Computer hardware forum: “To me RAM is RAM. What makes it different is the latetancy and the chips used for it.” [Another person in this text conversation spells it “latetency.” No one spells it correctly]

Digital photography forum: “I am rulling out the microdrive for reasons such as battery, latetency, etc. ”

Microsoft Windows support board: “Apparently they are one of the best for low latetency and high speeds.”

Fantasy gamer forum: “The key to quartz is it will sample your latetency to the server and then use that latetency as a gage of the lag in your spell cast.”

Technology forum: “I just wanted to add, had you not been able to route your ethernet cable, you would probably be better off simply upgrading to N wireless as its much less vulnerable to interference and can produce much lower latetency. ”



#2 2011-02-10 17:18:06

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1251

Re: latency << late

Amazing. This one boggles the mind. The hits refer to the delay in response of computer or network components. The choice of that word by the engineers was quite clever and corresponds to its use in physiology.

Germane to this post, you might have touched on the other way that “latency” is mangled by the digital speed freaks: latincy.



#3 2011-02-10 19:16:22

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: latency << late

Not just latetency, but possibly also late. We’ll never know how many times one might hear “latency” and subsequently convey it is as “late.”

Last edited by jorkel (2011-02-10 19:16:52)



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