## "Canal" vs. "Channel"

4

Canal: n. An artificial waterway or artificially improved river used for travel, shipping, or irrigation.

Channel: n. Electronics A specified frequency band for the transmission and reception of electromagnetic signals, as for television signals.

Italian language does not have two words with the meanings above, but it has only one: "canale".

Is there a historical reason why English language uses "channel", and not "canal" in reference to television signals?

Question was closed 2013-03-10T01:26:31.887

blame the French

– mcalex – 2013-03-08T09:49:00.603

3English uses channel to describe navigable waterways, too (such as the English Channel). – J.R. – 2013-03-08T10:05:48.923

Since we often use channel to mean a specific part of a river or other body of water, I think it makes sense to also use channel to mean "a specific part of the spectrum". No idea on the historical reasons though. – FakeDIY – 2013-03-08T11:18:59.883

2

I think "Is there a historical reason why English language uses" is a phrase that should definitely classify your question for English Language and Usage, and not for ELL.

– SF. – 2013-03-08T12:00:00.330

1@SF. Not sure I agree in this case. It really wasn't hard to get at the reason (though it looks like my link mightn't've been noticed by commenters?) and I'd expect British English speakers at least to be aware of the influence of the French on the language. Maybe also because I interpreted 'historical reason' as 'root word', but I don't find this out of ELL's scope. Plus we don't close stuff quite as reflexively :-) – mcalex – 2013-03-08T12:16:47.600

1@mcalex: The basic difference between the sites is ELL asks "How" and ELU asks "Why". This is definitely a "Why" question. – SF. – 2013-03-08T12:22:10.880

1I concur with @mcalex. OP's question goes to distinguishing two words, which is definitely On Topic, and the history helps European learners understand why the senses are different. I know such narratives helped me learn French and German: in effect, they are mnemonics. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2013-03-08T12:33:09.307

Just out of curiosity @StoneyB, Should not it be me learning French and German in your last comment? – Mistu4u – 2013-03-08T12:39:13.817

1@Mistu4u No, it's helped me learn or helped me to learn. Helped me with learning or helped me in learning are also possible, but not frequent in this context; more likely are with (my) French (language/studies) or in (my) German (class/studies). – StoneyB on hiatus – 2013-03-08T13:25:40.330