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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

signal (bonus)

               Signal, existing as a noun, verb, and adjective defines something of distinction, or a notable action.[1] In its noun form, it may refer to gestures, actions, or sounds that convey information from one entity to another. As a verb, signal is the action of indicating something and as an adjective; is used to describe the state of standing above others in rank, importance, or achievement.[2]
Signal is a word that finds roots in a variety of different sources including the Anglo-Norman and Middle French signal first meaning ‘distinguishing mark’.[3] By the late 14th century, signal was used to convey symbols and an object used as a sign to convey warning, direction, or information (1665).[1]  Similarly, signal finds connections with the Old French, Middle French seignal, seignau, as the ‘cross guard of a sword’ (1209) or even earlier to the post-classical Latin signale and classical Latin signum, ‘a mark, sign, emblem’.[1] As an adjective, signal originates from the Italian segnalato (1375), segnalare, and Middle French and French seignaller and signaler all of which delineate something remarkable or notable with reference to a thing (1557) and to a person (1569).[3] Though, in its most primitive appearance, signal arises from the Proto-Indo-European *sek- (to cut’), also giving offspring to modern day words such as sex (gender) and saw (tool with toothed blades).[4] Signal also can be traced to the Proto-Indo-European prefix *sekʷ- (to follow) which derives words like the Latin sequor (‘I follow, come or go after’) and the Ancient Greek ἕπομαι (hépomai) meaning ‘I follow, obey’.[5]
               In earlier periods, signal was perhaps more often used to reference a badge, emblem, or divine actions; but in today’s society, signal is used to delineate a mark of distinction or gestures conveying information that warrant attention. As a result, signal also finds use in prescribing an alteration of an electric current or electromagnetic wave in which information is conveyed from one place to another in the form of a current or wave. An expansion of this particular use is evident in street lights placed atop upright posts on roads that flash lights of different colour to give instruction of warnings to both drivers and pedestrians alike. Likewise, signal as a gesture, action, or sound prompting a particular action is a widespread routine in enterprises where organization is vital. An example of such would be baseball where upon stepping up to the plate, a batter constantly receives signals from his manager in the dugout regarding how to approach the current at-bat. In a way, signals play a large part in the organization of society due to its inherent use to achieve order. It is a means of communication and a way to inform individuals of potentially threatening situations.

[1] "Home : Oxford English Dictionary." Home : Oxford English Dictionary. http://oed.com/view/Entry/179518 (accessed November 20, 2012).

[2] "signal - Wiktionary." Wiktionary, the free dictionary. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/signal
(accessed November 20, 2012).

[3] "Home : Oxford English Dictionary." Home : Oxford English Dictionary. http://oed.com/view/Entry/179519 (accessed November 20, 2012).

[4] "Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/sekʷ- - Wiktionary." Wiktionary, the free dictionary. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/sek- (accessed November 20, 1994).

[5] "Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/sekʷ- - Wiktionary." Wiktionary, the free dictionary. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/sek%CA%B7- (accessed November 20, 2012).

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