Electronica Challenge

Hey here’s a challenge! Macquarie Dictionary reckons the word “electronica” is from 2007. I reckon it’s older. So we have to find 3 independent usages in mainstream media.

Here’s what they say:

noun the broad array of music created electronically.

If we want to improve the reference, we have to prove it. Send info!

5 Replies to “Electronica Challenge”

  1. Search the USENET archives on Google and you get lots of instances from 1995 (where it’s used as an umbrella term for electronic dance music styles). My old copies of Sound on Sound and The Mix (magazines) use it — mid 1990s. There are mid 1990s CD compilations that use it. How strange to be told by a dictionary that a word in common usage is new!

  2. @Eric TF Bat and Mat F: Yeah I figured it’d be that easy to find earlier references. I posted the question just before dashing out of the house yesterday and didn’t have time for even a quick search.

    I know a thing or two about lexicography, the process of constructing dictionaries. When I studied linguistics one of my tutors was the late George Turner, editor of the Australian editions of the Oxford dictionaries. (I’ll tell you the story of the word “now” at some point.) Don’t confuse him with the SF writer of the same name.

    And early editions of the Macquarie Dictionary didn’t have the word “treadly” because it’s mostly a South Australian usage. Broadcaster Keith Conlon knew of one usage in Colin Thiele‘s novel The Sun on the Stubble (he’d just finished recording it as an audio book). We were told to find another. Current editions now have it.

    noun (plural treadlies) Colloquial a bicycle. Also treadle, deadly treadly.

    Most of the time, the Macquarie‘s lexicographers refer to Ozcorp.

    Ozcorp is a database of Australian English collected for lexicographical purposes. It contains at present approximately 23 million words, with significant representation from Australian fiction, non-fiction and newspapers. Although there is a bias towards contemporary material, the database includes many texts from the 19th century through to World War II. There is also a small amount of material derived from letters, advertisements, and some spoken transcriptions.

    That’s from The Macquarie Dictionary, its History and its Editorial Practices, written describing the Third Edition.

    The Fourth Edition was released in 2005, and says Ozcorp contains texts written 1850 to 2004, and that they also search “contemporary news texts, especially from Australian Associated Press and ABC News Online” and “Australian documents on the Internet.

    But back to “electronica”…

    I’ll drop a note to the Macquarie Dictionary pointing to some earlier references, and asking for the citations they’re using. My gut feeling is that things like the Spectrum arts supplement to the Sydney Morning Herald have started using it to label music reviews relatively recently — and this would certainly fit the demographic profile of the “doctors’ wives” demographic who become Friends of the Macquarie Dictionary and submit words.

  3. @Benn Glazier: That’s a fascinating article! Daphne Oram was an amazing woman and her story should be better-known than it is.

    But the word “electronica” doesn’t appear anywhere it it, that I can see. And even if it did, it wouldn’t be suitable for a Macquarie Dictionary reference since the BBC is, um, how shall I put this…? British.

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