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  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Senior Member
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    the central meaning of "album"

    Dear all,
    When you hear the word "an album", what do you think of first?I learned an album normally means "a phto album" back in school, but later I realized it also means "a recorded album" and that this seems more popular.Also, is there any British/American differences in term of the use of this word?

    Thank you!
    OP
    Last edited by optimistic pessimist; 04-May-2010 at 02:40.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,When you hear the word "an album", what do you think of first?I learned an album normally means "a phto album" back in school, but later I realized it also means "a recorded album" and that this seems more popular.Also, is there any British/American differences in term of the use of this word?Thank you!OP
    To me, my immediate reaction would be the musical kind - either on vinyl or on CD.

    If someone meant a photo album, I would expect them to specify that.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    Me too.

  4. #4
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    An album is a collection of things. The things are put into an album for display or to listen to. For me all these albums that you mention are the same album that I learnt as a kid. I had a stamp album, a photo album some recorded music albums ....

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    If I heard "an album" without any context at all, my first thought would be of the musical kind.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,When you hear the word "an album", what do you think of first?I learned an album normally means "a phto album" back in school, but later I realized it also means "a recorded album" and that this seems more popular.Also, is there any British/American differences in term of the use of this word?Thank you!OP
    These days, I'd think of music. Forty years ago, I'd think of a stamp album or photo album.
    Another related term that has changed in that time is "artist", which, forty years ago, almost invariably meant a painter. What we now call an artist was called a singer back then.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    These days, I'd think of music. Forty years ago, I'd think of a stamp album or photo album...
    The idea of its referring to the collection (of musical tracks) rather than the receptacle that holds the collection struck me as odd at first. I knew (even at the tender age when I collected stamps) that an album's were white (Latin albus -a -um)). As an altar boy, I knew that a priest's white robe was called an 'alb'.

    Come to think of it, I wonder if the Beatles' White Album was some closet Classicist's quiet joke

    b

    PS Your words 'central meaning' are strange ... perhaps 'fluid' would be more what I mean. As you've seen from the answers, a meaning that's 'central' to one person is less central to another; it's not a question of who's 'right'. And even with one person, different sorts of meaning become more and less central, depending on that person's environment.
    Last edited by BobK; 04-May-2010 at 15:32.

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: the central meaning of "album"

    PPS I hope I didn't give the impression that the Latin root should somehow set the meaning in stone; it's just interesting (to a few of us )

    b

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