Discussion in 'English Only' started by 1337, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. 1337 Junior Member

    I know that a compact disc is a CD, and that's what I call it. However, I've noticed people refer to CDs as albums and occasionally as records.

    That's a great album!
    She made a brilliant record.

    I thought a record was vinyl... Are CDs also records? Can someone explain?
  2. This is a tricky one, but I'll start the ball rolling.

    In casual speech, we've always tended to be slow to catch up with advancing technical terminology.

    Thus, I still loosely say "I'm taping 'Porridge', when I'm actually recording it on my DVD player. It would sound odd to say "I'm DVDing it."

    There's this confusion between 'record' as a noun and a verb.

    As a noun, it's a vinyl disc or a means of storing music or speech in retrievable form, which could be on tape, CD or DVD, and more recent gadgetry which I have yet to catch up with.

    As a verb, it's the act of doing that.

    An album has always meant a collection of songs or tunes recorded by any sort of technology.

    I'm going to stop rambling now.

  3. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Usually, a "record" means the old-fashioned vinyl round thing. However, people of my age and older will sometimes refer to a CD or as a "record" because that is what we have said and bought for many years (especially in teenage years in the 70s).

    Basically, though, a record is the vinyl thing. An album, as has been said, is a collection of songs on CD, record, or cassette tape (another rather old-fashioned phenomenon).
  4. gasman Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Actually the first records I remember in our house were made of wax, and they were likely to break. Small children were not allowed to handle them! When the slower turning vinyl came in, there was less chance of breakage, as they needed to be turned much less frequently, and there was much more to be heard on each side.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  5. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Actually, I've noticed a trend right now whereby people seem to be deliberately calling a CD a "record". I've seen some talk shows lately where the guest was some young musician "putting out a record". Of course, the item that the host held up for the camera to eyeball was a CD case but I've noticed this more and more.

    "Vinyl" is becoming trendy again. As it happens, here in my hometown, they happen to be having a "record swap" at the local university today and they do mean the old vinyl records. Stores are selling turntables again and I think it's just trendy to use the term "record".
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Allow me to be a really old codger and point out that when I was a child an "album" consisted of multiple 12-inch, 78 rpm, very breakable, records with one song per side. See HERE for Wikipedia entry.

    The album was similar to a photo album except that each page was a sleeve for a 78 rpm record. Given the fragile nature of the records, few families had intact albums and naturally, the more people liked a song, the more often it was played and therefore the greater the likelihood of breakage.

    Thus, many families had many albums they never opened because all the songs they liked were on records that had broken.

    Obviously, "album" has a different sense these days.
  7. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    I, for one, will allow you to be a really old codger because that was a very interesting post. I did not know the origin of a record "album".
  8. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I noticed a similar phenomenon when people started referring to video cassettes as "movies", a term previously reserved for film with sprocket holes and little pictures.

    I think the term "disk" serves well for a (phonograph) record, a CD, or a DVD, but not a cassette tape. A "recording" is any of these.

    To me, a record is a record and a CD is a CD, but a CD is not a record except in the sense that a book is also a record. And a microwave is a signal, not an oven.
  9. 1337 Junior Member

    That's exactly what prompted this thread. At first, like the others said, I thought that calling a 'CD' a 'record' was just a habit thing, but after seeing a younger person calling a 'CD' a 'record'.

    So a CD can be called a record, a disc, and an album even though a CD is not really a record album. However, it may be a record, because it's recorded (or you just fancy vinyl). Bizarre.

    I think I'll just call them donuts. =P This business is maddening.

    Thanks to all for the help!

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