Jan 28, 2009

Geoff Nunberg Describes Buzzword Phenomenon

From Fortune Magazine

In grim times, hoping for 'reset'

By Lawrence Delevingne

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Doom and gloom were everywhere in 2008. It's not surprising, then, that people are longing for a return to normal, or at least to something a little less painful.

Accordingly, a new buzzword is making the rounds among business and political leaders — reset, as in that wonderful button on video-games that lets frustrated players start from scratch....

Why do terms like 'reset' enter the lexicon so suddenly?

Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at University of California at Berkeley: "It isn't surprising that the word has caught on so quickly. Everybody loves to use a new word, with the implication that it's bringing a new concept along with it, particularly when it has a technical ring to it. Although usually, the word itself is all that's new."...

What does 'reset' mean?

Nunberg: "For [President] Obama it seems to mean, 'restore to its earlier -- and presumably, normal -- state,' like the reset button on a computer or video game that clears the memory and reboots the device. The implication being, I think, that we want to put all this uncertainty behind us and get back to where we were."...


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October 4, 2016