Wired! Philippines

NetSpeak, Anyone?
by MC <mac_updil@yahoo.com>


"Language is the mirror of progress."
Charles Bough, History of the English Language

Headlines can be a good source of expressions like when we say do a-Clinton when we mean "admission of something inappropriate" or commit an Eraption when we mean lapses in correct grammar. In the world today, language continues to grow, live and evolve more so in the other world called cyberspace.

It’s not that I’m a techno-wiz or a cyber-literate since the most time I spend on the Internet is only limited to e-mails and some surfing. I wrote this piece with a simple thesis in mind: that the Internet has and continues to revolutionize language in more unconscious ways than one.

So we no longer hear ‘converse’ but rather ‘chat’ lately. Nor do we confine reality to just what really exists but as well as to something virtual. And we can mention a string of other innovations in the language as made by the Net-trekkers themselves (now that’s my language there!).

How do we Net-communicate? Let me count the ways. It’s not that ‘404’ but communicating in the Net is like ‘GMTA.’

Now how does this translates to layperson’s language is simply put as: It’s not that ‘I have no clue’ but communicating in the Net is like ‘Great Minds Thinking Alike.’ Chat rooms have probably large doses of these number codes and acronyms.

Gone are the days when it’s just ‘143’ stuff for romantic pinings or acronyms such as SM for that string of malls. Rather these word formations multiply day by day that we no longer know when the Oxford Dictionary will start putting up a lexicon of all these terms.

The Internet as an electronic medium has sparked these new words probably due to limited space (to phrase all those expressions in formal language), time constraints (to easily facilitate immediate response to the chatters) and desire for a standard of speech in the medium (so that if a person comes from, say, Outer Mongolia, that person will have some sort of guide when dipping into the medium). Imagine if we’d have to type Chinese characters or Greek alphabets to one another – a more acceptable form will preserve the fidelity of the communication.


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As the world embraces the new world order, that is the information superhighway, new words will contiue to pour in like AFK (away from keyboard), GAL (get a life), 100 (nature calls), CID (crying in disgrace), 88 (love and kisses), CYA (see ya), BIBO (beer in, beer out), L8R (later), MTF (more to follow) or KIT (keep in touch) to name a few. No phrase is impossible and neither is meeting a QT (cutie) online and having a day filled with C&G (chuckle and grin) on top of our noses in the computer.

Self-expression via Emoticon. The Net is not just replete with all the smiley faces but with meaningful symbols as well. One shirt brand had this in their commercial strongly characterizing the power of this new form of language as the all-generation means of expression (it’s hard coining a more politically correct term for Net users outside the Gen-X bracket).

Certainly, the idiograms we see while driving like the stop and walk signs on the streets or the label instructions on mosquito repellants and other trade products are more graphic than these emoticons but I : ( ) ‘can’t stop talking’ on how these Net symbols incorporated a rather interesting way of conveying one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, whether the sentiment is >:- ( ‘angry’ or \ - O ‘bored’.

The constant use of these emoticons have provided a more interesting means to express oneself on the Net, a safer avenue for private messages, and spare the agony of typing in more characters which can simplify emotions.

So we see 0:-) for angelic (personality or whatever), : *) for drunk or just clowning, :-p for disgusted (with tongue sticking out), ;-> for devilish wink or :- # for lips are sealed.

There are surely more emoticons which will invade the Net with more than enough to brighten a day like receiving an emoticon as affectionate as (( )) : ** or hugs and kisses when one is just totally :-c or bummed out.

Net lingo as we say it. Largely, new words and phrases came about as Internet use spawns across the globe (unless of course you’re stuck in the Himalayas). This language has fostered cyber unity and has added new meanings to already existing words. As Net users grow, Net language will tread the same path as well because as the world changes and transforms so is the language that mirrors it.

Shakespeare’s I love thee for Romeo is now IWAL for a cyber baby and who knows what its future will be. There are of course PC language and dynamic programming languages like Turbo C++, Visual Basic and Delphi stuff, but then that’s of course for a different article.


 

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