Read the passage below and answer the following questions.
The Origin of Software
It is undeniably known that whenever people talk about ‘software’, they refer to the computer programme. One of the most common definition of software available in English dictionaries is it refers to sets of programmes that tell a computer how to do a particular job. A question arise is who actually invented the word? How long has the word exist in our universe? With the help of software searching for databases, these questions can now be answered with some plausible explanation.
Back in 1958, an etymologist has found that the use of the term software first appeared to describe computer programmes in the field of mathematics namely in a mathematical journal. Fred Shapiro, a librarian of Yale Law School, has conducted his personal investigation in searching a huge database of academic journals looking for the first use of new words and expressions. According to Shapiro, he discovered uses of ‘post-modern’ and ‘double standard’ are earlier used than those listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Later on, he discovered an article written by John W. Tukey that widely opened up his mind about the emergence of software
John W. Tukey, a mathematician at Princeton University who is also an expert at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, first used the term ‘software ‘ and ‘hardware’ in January 1958 in American Mathematical Monthly. Tukey’s hall of fame is not only because he coined the term software, but he is also known for his expertise in inventing the word bit (binary digit) in 1949. A bit is the simplest form of computer storage that represents “1” or “0”. Due to these discoveries, he can be considered as the inventor and responsible for the first use of the term software.
Surprisingly, the current information gathered from the net as well as Oxford English Dictionary traces the word software back to 1960 proves that there is an 1850 occurrence of such term in a various context to distinguish two types of garbage. First “soft-ware” referring to matter that would eventually decompose and second, the “hard-ware” referred to anything else. These terms were said be used by poor people who picked through rubbish heaps for their living. It seems sensible in those days when these people used ‘soft-ware’ to describe the left over food, which they found among the rubbish and ‘hard-ware’ to mean the wood and metal.
No matter what, Tukey’s term software is more practical to refer to the computer programmes in today’s world. Additionally, it provides new insights into our modern social and cultural context in which some day it may be related to another new context.
Adapted from: Robert Kent. The First Software. Just English. Vol: 1, Issue:5. 2005. http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_7_31_00.html
Task 1: Multiple Choice
Each of these questions has options A, B, C and D. Choose the most suitable answer.
1. Who is the etymologist who discovered the term software?
A Bill Gates [Incorrect! He is Microsoft founder!]
B John F. Kennedy [Oh No! He is the late President of the USA]
C John W.Tukey [Keep going! Try again!]
D Fred Shapiro [Hooray!]
2. In which field the term software first appeared?
A Computer [Wrong choice!]
B Mathematics [Excellent! Software is used to describe computer programming in mathematical area]
C Chemistry [Poor choice! Try again.]
D Science [Untrue.]
3. What is bit?
A The sharp part of a tool for cutting or making hole. [Oh Dear, try again!]
B To criticize strongly. [Keep going!]
C Binary digit [Brilliant! It is the simplest form of computer storage that represents “1” or “0”.]
D A short period of distance [Poor choice!]
4. In mid twentieth century, software is a term used by the poor to refer to
A Leftover food among garbage [Bingo! Your answer is correct.]
B Anything except food in rubbish heaps [Oh no! Try again!]
C A specific programme to run a computer [Opps! Wrong choice.]
D Pile of garbage [Keep going!]
5. John W. Tukey first wrote and published his article in
A Journal of Mathematics [Try once again!]
B American Journal of Mathematics [Don’t stop! One more try]
C American Mathematical Monthly [Bravo! Great answer!]
D Mathematics Journal of Storage [Oh no! Try again!]
1. D 2. B 3. C 4. A 5. C
Task 2: Matching/Drag-n-Drop
Read the sentences in both columns below carefully and match the half-sentences in A to its correct partner in B appropriately.
1. [A]The most common definition of software is [B] it refers to sets of programmes that tell a computer how to do a particular job.
2. [A]Bit [B] is a short form of binary digit
3. [A]There is an 1850 occurrence of software [B]in a various context to distinguish two types of garbage
4. [A]John W. Tukey is [B] a mathematician and an expert at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill
5. [A]Fred Shapiro is [B]a librarian of Yale Law School
Task 3: True and False
Read each of the statements below. Mark ‘T’ if it is true and ‘F’ if it is false.
1. The term software first appeared in mathematical journal. T
2. Fred Shapiro invented the term software. F
3. The currently known inventor of the term software is John W. Tukey T
4. In 1949, Tukey also coined the term bit. T
5. In the past, the word ‘hard-ware’ is used to distinguish the left over food or
Task 4: Fill in the Blanks
Read this passage carefully and fill in the blanks with suitable answer. You may refer to the previous text and also tutorials section for guidance.
At present, software is a significantly common and familiar word to the society. Although there are a lot of definitions of software (1) given (give, gave, given) by its users, not many realized the origin of the word when it was used for the first time ever in cyberspace history. An etymologist named Fred Shapiro discovered that the word software first (2) appeared (appear, has appeared, appeared) in the field of mathematics. Surprisingly, this word (3) has occurred (occur, occurred, has occurred) almost five decades ago. Shapiro (4) has found (find, found, has found) a mathematical journal written by John W. Tukey that discussed issues of software and hardware in 1960.
As a librarian of Yale Law School, Shapiro (5) has conducted (conduct, conducted, has conducted) his own investigation to study of the origins, history and change of meanings for two familiar words: software and hardware to suit their interpretations in our (6) current modern and high technology civilization. Tracing back to the end of 20th century, the journey of the word software was first (7) established (establish, has established, established) when a mathematician John W. Tukey wrote and published an article in January 1958. Additionally, he also (8) coined (coins, coined, coining) the word bit to refer to the simplest form of computer storage.
People nowadays are (9) indebted (indebt, indebts, indebted) to Tukey’s expertise for his effort to coin the term software. The ancient meaning of software i.e, decomposed material, is no longer appropriate as the contemporary acceptable meaning (10) refers (referred, referring, refers) to sets of programmes that tell a computer how to do a particular job. It is conceivable that a former connection between software- hardware and decomposed material put forth the reason why personal computer gets crash easily!
Task 5: Crossword puzzle
Read the clues provided to you and complete the CROSSWORD PUZZLE below.
3. Poor people in the past called hardware to refer to anything found around rubbish heap that does not decompose.
4. The term software is used by the poor in the past to refer to left over food that eventually decomposes.
7. Bit is the simplest form of computer storage.
6 A laboratory is a room in which a scientist does special tests or prepares substances.
9. Fred Shapiro is an etymologist as he studies the origins, history and change of words.
1. A journal is a serious magazine produces for professional people or those with a particular interest.
2. Tukey also coined the word bit in 1949.
5. To cause something become rotten or decay (decompose)
8. A person who works in a library. (librarian)
10. To ____ means to invent a new word or expression especially one that many people start to use