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Off topic: Quick question: Notebook or Laptop?
Thread poster: Claudia Alvis

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:04
+ ...
Feb 15, 2008

I'm trying to settle a little debate I have going on. In general, colloquial speech, when referring to a portable computer, regardless of its size, no specific cases, without giving it too much thought, which term do you use the most: notebook or laptop?

Also, where are you from or where do you live? Are you a Native English speaker or not?, and Do you have a notebook/laptop?

Thanks very much.

[Edited at 2008-02-15 23:39]


Tatiana Lammers  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Laptop Feb 15, 2008

Russian native, live and work in Hawaii, USA - use the word "laptop" more than a "notebook"


Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:04
English to Turkish
+ ...
Laptop Feb 15, 2008

Turkish native; live and work in Germany; use laptop almost 100% of the time, notebook doesn't even occur to me...

.... I mean, use the word "laptop" almost 100% of the time - otherwise, I'm a desktop usericon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2008-02-16 01:06]


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
native EN Feb 15, 2008

.....but have lived in Spain for 20 years.

Always laptop, after all it's unamabiguous, why refer to "notebook" which could be confused with "libreta"?

Wkipedia's main entry is about laptops not notebooks.
This article is about the writing pad. For the mobile version of a computer, see Laptop. For other uses, see Notebook (disambiguation).
A notebook (also notepad, writing pad, drawing pad, legal pad, etc.) is a book, usually of paper, of which various uses can be made, including writing, drawing, and scrapbooking. Notebooks can be distinguished along several dimensions and sub-dimensions:


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:04
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Both Feb 16, 2008

When I lived in Brazil and spoke Portuguese (I'm an American native), I (and everyone else, pretty much) said "notebook" (no-chee-book in Brazilian Portuguese). Now that I'm back in the USA I say laptop.



JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 15:04
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ditto. Feb 16, 2008

Özden Arıkan wrote:

use laptop almost 100% of the time, notebook doesn't even occur to me...

Ditto. U.S. native (Illinois) but have lived entire adult life in Puerto Rico; native speaker of English; I have a laptop but it never sits in my lap.

[Edited at 2008-02-16 01:00]


M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:04
English to Polish
Laptop Feb 16, 2008

Polish native, living and working in HK.

I use laptop, as it works nicely in Polish, you read it as you write it, no problems with declination - the word works as any other Polish masculine noun. "Notebook" is clearly English word, differently written, differently read, which makes it less convenient to adapt to Polish grammary rules.



Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:04
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Laptop Feb 16, 2008

Native UK English, always Laptop, why did anyone ever invent a second term for the same thing?


mediamatrix (X)
Local time: 16:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Both Feb 16, 2008

The last computer I bought, of any kind, was a lap-top purchased in Switzerland, at the end of the last century. It was sold in Switzerland (FR/DE/IT) as a laptop and it was purchased by me, a UK native, as a 'laptop'.

A few weeks ago I took it into a local IT repair shop. They took one look and exclaimed: "Señor, su notebook es un antigüedad!"*

I confess that I latched on immediately to 'un antigüedad' (maybe, unconsciously, I thought he was referring to meicon_frown.gif ), but I took a few moments to realise the fellow was actually referring to my beloved laptop with its extremely versatile Swiss French keyboard.


* Sir. Your notebook is an antique!


Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:04
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
old fogey Feb 16, 2008

I'm a native speaker of English, and I've gone through 4 laptops in my life. I'm pretty sure the term laptop predates notebook, and since it's the term I learned first, it's the only one I use. It's weird, though, because if you go to any commercial Web site, it's always notebook, not laptop.


Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Local time: 13:04
English to Spanish
Idem Feb 16, 2008

Laptop, even in Mexico.


Bogdan Burghelea  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:04
English to German
+ ...
Romania Feb 16, 2008

Native in Romanian, living in Romania.

Laptop is established, notebook only if one wants to stress the small footprint, thickness or weight (which is, I guess, the only distinction between the two portable computers).


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:04
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Both are stupid Feb 16, 2008

These words seems to be derived originally from "set-top", meaning cable-tv-adapters. These hardly ever are placed above the tv-set, but on a shelve below or beneath. My socalled desktop pc never was placed on the table but on the floor, so it should be called floortop. And my portable pc is never placed on my lap (can be rather hot, and I do not work on journeys), but on the desk before me.
In Finnish portable computers are called "kannettava tietokone", meaning "portable computer", shortly "kannettava". But in casual speach people tend to call them "läppäri", derived from laptop.
In German I would call a portable pc a Taschenrechner or Rucksackrechner, a hand-held would be Handrechner. But mostly Germans talk about Notebooks, I'm afraid.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:04
English to French
+ ...
Notebooks are made of paper Feb 16, 2008

To me, a notebook is a good old spiral book made of paper. I can't stand it when the meaning of old words is shifted to new meanings - what are we going to call good old notebooks from now on if the word now means a portable computer?

Canada, EN + FR - and I don't like laptop either (watch your back if you really keep your computer in your lap!). I would prefer portable computer or something of the like...


Suzette Martin-Johnson
French to English
+ ...
Laptop Feb 16, 2008

Definitely laptop in Jamaica. English-speaker, born here but went to school in the UK.

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