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How the Internet Is Changing Language 295

Ant writes "BBC News reports on how the internet is changing language. What was once understandable only to the tech savvy has become common. From the article: 'To Google' has become a universally understood verb and many countries are developing their own Internet slang. But is the Web changing language and is everyone up to speed?'"
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How the Internet Is Changing Language

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  • LOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:50AM (#33285332) Homepage Journal


    And yeah, I've heard people say it IRL. I've also heard people say IRL IRL.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've found myself using those face-to-face...among others (O RLY, variations of LOLcat speak, WTF)'s rather scary how much these little routine things we use, more or less to save time, can permeate the corporeal world.
      • I regularly say "teh" instead of "the" when speaking as a way to emphasis the word, so instead of "This is Thee Book to read" I say "This is teh book to read". It started as a joke but has become a bad habit I guess...

        I also spontaneously burst out "TEH NOM!" when I taste good food.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by minasoko ( 710100 )

          I regularly say "teh" instead of "the" when speaking...

          Looking at your id, I'm expecting that most people you speak to mistake this behaviour for dementia.

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      "WTF" ends up particularly charming IRL, IMHO...though YMMV.

      • "WTF" ends up particularly charming IRL, IMHO...though YMMV.

        lol whats "charming"? liek uber?

      • I always think it sounds lame. It's rather cumbersome - 5 syllables instead of the three. Plus when I see WTF I don't see it as the letters, I read it as "what the fuck?" anyway. With something like "lol" I just read it as its own word now, it doesn't mean laugh out loud anymore, it's more of a "I know what I'm saying is kinda lame but I hope you don't mind"

        PS lol

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by RulerOf ( 975607 )
          My uncle and I were talking once and he wanted to be discreet, so he said "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."

          ....which kinda made me LOL.
          • ....which kinda made me LOL.

            You mean... Lima Oscar Lima, right?! :p

          • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) *

            My uncle and I were talking once and he wanted to be discreet, so he said "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."

            Yeah, I've used that trick when I don't want to swear in public as well (though I'd never say "WTF"), I've used it typed for emphasis on message boards as well as in Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. where it seems to carry more weight than a simple WTF on it's own.

          • That's brilliant! I am now going to start expanding acronyms using the phonetic alphabet.

            Zulu Oscar Mike Golf! Romeo Oscar Foxtrot Lima!

    • Whenever I hear someone attempt to pronounce "LOL" it always makes me cringe. It always reminds me of Jeremy from Pure Pwnage (and his "LUL!"), which immediately paints the person as a colossal idiot. Sadly it's usually pretty accurate too.

    • Yeah I've heard people say LOL too. What made me cringe is when something was REALLY funny, so instead of laughing, they actually went "Loooooooooooool", holding a pause on the o sound during pronouciation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DJRumpy ( 1345787 )

        I'm sorry, but it's all cringeworthy. When you start spelling your emotions, you should seek counseling. I have a home schooled friend who used to do that. There are some things friends shouldn't let friends do. This is one of them...

        He now laughs like a normal person, and may even have a date in the near future. There is always hope...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      wiki snip: Lol is a Dutch word (not an acronym) which, coincidentally, means "fun" ("lollig" means "funny").
      so don't blame us.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Yes, heard in several places like at work (male, 27) and gf of my friend (female, 24) and her friends too. First off it seems you can use the word more - if you actually laughed out loud as often you'd seem rather manic. Also I've noted they manage to use it as an emotional state like sad, happy etc. for being either amused or finding something silly. Or as an interjection like "The boss said so, lol, but I just did it anyway."

      • I've heard people write or say "LOL" in place of normal punctuation. Even when something isn't even mildy amusing, or perhaps it's even horrific, it's used in place of periods. "OMG I got beat up @ school today LOL it was awful LOL I cried for hours LOL"
    • Try saying ROFLMAO out loud, you sound like a pissed cat.
      • American pissed, or British pissed?

        British pissed would be "ROFL-hiccup-MAO", American pissed would be "ROFLMAO-dammit!"

  • First Post becomes common

  • No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @03:53AM (#33285338) Homepage

    "[...] is everyone up to speed?"

    No. That's the whole point of slang - you use it to show that you belong in a specific subgroup. If everyone is "up to speed" on some slang it no longer works as slang. Everyone who wants to show subgroup membership (and that's everybody, pretty much) will start using other new words and expressions instead.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )

      The point is how it ceases to be a slang... And on a quite global scale, enabling unprecended level of direct interboundary (interocean even) communication - the very act of which is what has always shaped languages. But rarely among so diverse people (and, face it, with not terribly impressive / solid familiarity with the languges they use; vide this post...)

      • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:47AM (#33285588) Homepage

        "And on a quite global scale, enabling unprecended level of direct interboundary (interocean even) communication"

        Not as much as many native English speakers seem to want to think. Most people here in Japan, including academics and other well-educated professionals, never visit non-Japanese language websites - or if they do (some social websites or similar), only the subset that is in Japanese. And this is generally true even when their English proficiency is quite good. I saw similar behavior (though to a lesser extent) in my native Sweden some years ago.

        "Language globalization" or not, the vast majority of people around the world are most comfortable communicating in their own language, with people largely sharing their own culture. We don't really have one internet as much as a number of separate, semi-permeable internets, each with their own language, culture, trends and memes but with some high-profile stuff "leaking" between them. We may superficially seem as we're sharing the same online culture, but for every runaway meme shared by the world, you have tens, hundreds that never go beyond the particular internet where it was born.

    • "[...] is everyone up to speed?"

      No. That's the whole point of slang - you use it to show that you belong in a specific subgroup. If everyone is "up to speed" on some slang it no longer works as slang. Everyone who wants to show subgroup membership (and that's everybody, pretty much) will start using other new words and expressions instead.

      what subgroup uses "lawl" in actual speech? Because I wish to slap that group.

    • Correct, although it's worth pointing out the difference between slang and (tech) jargon, also: jargon is used as shortcuts for otherwise long descriptions of specific concepts. (Knowledgable) use of it also shows subgroup, but only as a side effect.

      And, honestly, "to google" and the like are slang, not jargon, and thus the "tech savvy" have nothing to do with it.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @08:08AM (#33286396)
      Right right. Real horrorshow malenky like, these vesches are with the slobos. Like to go all ultraviolence on their litsos til the tolchoks make their rots all skorry like. You viddy?
  • The Internet lets everybody in the world talk to each other, faster and more flexibly than before. So yes, that's going to change language, because people who would have never talked to each other are doing so, and people who had obscure things to talk about can find other people to talk about them with that they wouldn't have before.

  • Surely.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by zmollusc ( 763634 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:02AM (#33285368)

    'How teh intartubez are changing how ppl speak' ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is that thing still around?

  • Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by matt007 ( 80854 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:10AM (#33285398)

    back in time : Slashdot = News for nerds, stuff that matters.
    now : Slashdot = Useless stuff, badly reported, just to get clicks.

  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:20AM (#33285454) Homepage Journal

    ... changing ur langwigez!

  • Keyboards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by txoof ( 553270 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:21AM (#33285458) Homepage

    Not only has the internet changed the way some people speek, but just the common use of keyboards without the intervention of editing or editors (or thinking, sometimes) has contributed to the way we speak online, and occasionally in real life. A few examples that pop to mind are "borken," a simple transposition of the "r" and "o" in broken-- and of course thanks to the Swedish Chef []. That transposition also gave us the incredibly useful word "bork" as well. The transposition "teh" has also crept into usage, usually to show some sort of derision or sarcasm.

    What other transpositions or artifacts of keyboard usage can /. come up with?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:35AM (#33285536)

    Go back 50 years, and you will probably find the same commentary about television. How it was spreading new terms and speech patterns and what not.

    It's funny, though. I tried to Google for articles, posts and blogs about this from 50 years ago, and didn't find anything.

    Were people back 50 years ago too lazy to post crap on the Internet . . . ?

    • And the telephone. Hello was invented as a word to use when one picked up the phone. Bell wanted everyone to say "ahoy", but that didn't catch on.
    • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @09:00AM (#33286792)

      Go back 50 years, and you will probably find the same commentary about television. How it was spreading new terms and speech patterns and what not.

      Funny you mention that, since I just ran across this: []

  • The single most hacked word is "your" lol. Who started it?

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:47AM (#33285594) Homepage Journal

    My eight year old son plays the usual games in the playground but I noticed that it is now possible to pause them. The way it works in you are running around playing Tag or something and somebody says Pause and everything stops. Its a bit like time out in basketball, but for me it is directly derived from the electronic games they play which generally have a Pause function.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vadim_t ( 324782 )

      Maybe the specific usage of the word "pause" is new-ish, but the concept has been there as far back as I can remember, from before I or anybody I knew even knew what the Internet was.

      So long you were playing with people who weren't jerks, you could always request for people to wait a minute while you tie your shoelaces or whatever.

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

    I have never thought languages can change. I thought they talk the way they do since stone age. Honestly. They found out that languages change due to a new innovation which changed the life of many people? The industrial revolution also changed the language of people. They now know what a company is and a factory and in most countries they know what a labor union is and what it is good for.

    But even more astonishing then finding out, that new things influence languages, is the fact that they came up with thi

  • To google.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoellerPlesset2 ( 1419023 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @04:55AM (#33285636)
    Language evolves.. but it still evolves along the same lines and 'rules' as before.
    For instance, we now have "to google" in English, but if you turn that into a French verb, it needs a French verb ending, thus "googler".
    In German you'd need an -n but "googlen" doesn't work, but by transposing the letters you can use the -eln verb ending and so you have "googeln".
    In Swedish, verbs need an -a ending, requiring the 'e' be dropped, so "googla".
    • ... you'd just lengthen the first syllable so you'd have "Gooooogle".

      Hey , the Muppet Show taught me all I need to know about language! Though admittedly some of
      its facts were a bit fozzy around the edges.

      • That's Spanish (Mexican dialect).

        Anytime you realize you need to find something, appropriate response is to jump on the table and yell: Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rzlq ( 1820250 )
      right, some languages will even use a prefix, like the czech "vygooglit" -- literally "to google out" [as in 'find out'].
    • Re:To google.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kumanopuusan ( 698669 ) <goughnourc AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @06:50AM (#33286096)
      In Japanese, verbs often end in ru. guguru [] (one transliteration of Google) ends in ru and it's used as a verb. With only a handful of exceptions, all Japanese verbs are regular, so once a new verb is coined all of its many forms are used more or less naturally.

      From the verb stem (gugur-) one can derive all the other forms of the verb, including gugureba [] (if [one] googles), gugutta [] (googled), gugurimasu [] (google [polite]) and even gugurikata [] (googling technique), gugutteirassyaru [] (to google [exalted]), gugutteitadakereba [] (if [I] humbly receive the addressee's act of googling), guguritai [] ([I] want to google) and gugure [] (google [impolite imperative, similar to "Google it, motherfucker!"]).
    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      The worst, I've found, in Spanish is "wikipedear". I've noted that these neologisms (googlear, wikipediar etc.) only get used in the participle or gerund, never as the usual first/second/third person etc. conjugations (you see things like "Lo he googleado..." but never "lo googlearé" etc.

      Interestingly, "cederrón" - which means CD-ROM - is actually in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española ( [], so long as slashdot d

    • by migla ( 1099771 )

      ...and in Finland, the verb would be "googlata". Many finns never learn to pronounce g, though, so they'd pronounce it with k-sounds instead.

  • by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:33AM (#33285786)

    Reminded me of this: []

  • Not really (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @05:52AM (#33285868) Journal

    I was expecting this to be more about how languages are infiltrating other languages (think Firefly and how they swear in Chinese). More like how the internet is making people more knowledgeable of tech terminology.

  • People are comming here, and using words ignoring the original meaning.

      - "Hackers" to describe everything maling.
      - "Noob" and "newbies". People that call noob to everybody, even unskilled players (?).
      - "Netiquette". This words is hardly in use today.
      - "Lurking". Another word missing in combat.
      - "Quoting". MIA.
      - "IMHO".
      - "IANAL".

    If you argue that noob!=newbie, you are called nerd... ON THE FUCKING INTERNETS.

    • by Spad ( 470073 )

      I don't know, I've always found that "newbie" is a fairly neutral term for someone new to an environment whereas "noob" is used as a pejorative term for people who *aren't* new but still act like they don't have a clue what they're doing.

  • I can has new vernacular?

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2010 @09:16AM (#33286972) Homepage Journal

    What? No mention of Slashspeak? No "If you loose at poker, your a bad player, and you will run out of chip's"?

  • "BBC News reports on how the internet/computer/telephone/horseless carriage/steam locomotive/rifled gun barrel/frigate/fire/written language is changing language."

  • From TFA:

    "Leetspeak" in which some letters are replaced by numbers which stem from programming code.

    Uhh ... or, you know, standard Arabic numerals used in most (all?) Western languages.

    Unless they're trying to say that "programming code" replaces letters with numbers. Sad to say, I don't really think you'll get very far calling C0ns0l3.Wr1t3L1n3("H3110 w0r1d!").

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