One thought on “Microformats and Language Drift

  1. The day after posting this, I came up with a partial fix for this problem of language drift in semantics: a temporal marker. I believe that this is already recorded in sites like, though I don’t know how closely it is tied to particular instances of use of a given term (or “tag”), nor how well it is exposed. But future SemWeb work should account for the point in time at which a term was applied, and so derive a fixed meaning for the term from that date.

    I think it would be interesting to watch the spread of terms this way, the ebb and flow of meaning and cohesion as a word is adopted across the boundaries of social groups and language families (and less across geography, as in the past). This whole hyperorthographic culture is so young that this is probably our first opportunity to do such a study. The next generations of linguists and symbolic logicians will have a treasure trove to dig through.

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