Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Article excerpt

THE most annoying new words to catch my attention this year are Wap phone. This is partly because the thing itself is annoying. More than 200,000 have been bought, and now people, including my dear daughter Veronica, find that they don't bloody work, as she neatly puts it.

They are supposed to download pages from the Internet and send off messages by email. At best they do all this five times more slowly than ordinary computers - and you know how slow those can be.

The next annoyance factor is that Wap is an acronym. But I have seldom met anyone who knows what it stands for. The answer is 'Wireless Application Protocol', which sounds like a piece of anti-Semitic sci-fi. An alternative name for the same thing is GPRS (which I admit is worse, being unpronounceable), standing for 'General Packet Radio Service'. …

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