Thursday, 12 April 2012


Taking into consideration the ongoing development of the digital
media (mobile phones, chat services, emails, internet in general) and
inclination of society to globalization, there is obviously a need for
informal communication with face-to-face terms directly, easily and
fast. For several years already, linguistic phenomena have been established
that serve this need to a large extent. This includes abbreviations
for speed, images and emoticons for directness and symbolic
expressions which give the group using them a feel of uniqueness.

Even though many are opposed to this kind of language transformations,
the users have already set a course which leads to constant
new communication phenomena. In the future, the need for direct
communication will be essential among people and the use of international
english will not be enough. The linguistic phenomena mentioned
were not designed and consolidated by competent bodies but
are created by ordinary users of the digital media. This is precisely
why this will continue to evolve, although it is seemingly informal
and unsupported. It is just another part of human evolution, in the
context of communication.

Having these into consideration, we could make the following
predictions for the next 10 years:

• The digital communication continues to be refined by users and
the need will continue to be more demanding

• The linguistic phenomena mentioned are acceptable even to users
who were originally opposed and are now acceptable collectively,
since they have been improved over time

• An international digital language is created, within the digital
media boundaries, that is being used daily to serve users’
needs globally

• Digital media evolve further and make communication easier,
faster and more direct than ever by incorporating super fast video
technology almost everywhere, eliminating the need for text and
chat messaging

Monday, 2 April 2012

Internet linquistics around the world

The Internet has helped people from all over the world to become connected to one another, enabling “global” relationships to be formed. As such, it is important for the various types of slang used online to be recognizable for everyone. It is also important to do so because of how other languages are quickly catching up with English on the Internet, following the increase in Internet usage in countries predominantly non-English speaking. In actual fact, as on May 31, 2011, only approximately 27% of the online population is made up of English speakers.

Different cultures tend to have different motivations behind their choice of slang, on top of the difference in language used. For example, in China, because of the tough Internet regulations imposed, users tend to use certain slang to talk about issues deemed as sensitive to the government. These include using symbols to separate the characters of a word into other to avoid detection and hence resulting in censorship. Abbreviations are popular across different cultures, including countries like Japan, China, France, Portugal, etc, and are used according to the particular language the Internet users speak. Significantly, this same style of slang creation is also found in non-alphabetical languages as, for example, a form of ‘e gao’ or alternative political discourse.

The difference in language often results in miscommunication, as seen in an onomatopoeic example, “555”, which sounds like “crying” in Chinese, and “laughing” in Thai. A similar example is between the English “haha” and the Spanish “jaja”, where both are onomatopoeic expressions of laughter, but the difference in language also meant a different consonant for the same sound to be produced.
In terms of culture, in Chinese, the numerically based onomatopoeia “770880”, (亲亲你抱抱你, qin qin ni bao bao ni), which means to ‘kiss and hug you’, is used. This is comparable to “XOXO”, which many Internet users use. In French, “pkoi” is used in the place of pourquoi, which means why. This is an example of a combination of onomatopoeia and shortening of the original word for convenience when writing online.

In conclusion, every different country has their own language background and cultural differences and hence they tend to have their own rules and motivations for their own Internet slang. However, at present, there is still a lack of studies done by researchers on some differences between the countries.
On the whole, the popular use of Internet slang has resulted in a unique online and offline community as well as sub-categories of “special internet slang which is different from other slang spread in the whole internet… similar to jargon… usually decided by the sharing community”. It has also led to virtual communities marked by the specific slang they use and led to a more homogenized yet diverse online culture.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Internet Linguistics and the various perspectives

Internet linguistics is a sub-domain of linguistics advocated by David Crystal. It studies new language styles and forms that have arisen under the influence of the Internet and other New Media, such as Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging. Since the beginning of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) leading to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) and Internet-Mediated Communication (IMC), experts have acknowledged that linguistics has a contributing role in it, in terms of web interface and usability. Studying the emerging language on the Internet can help improve conceptual organization, translation and web usability. This will benefit both linguists and web users. The study of Internet linguistics can be effectively done through 4 main perspectives; sociolinguistics, education, stylistics and applied.

Sociolinguistic  perspective

This perspective deals with how society views the impact of Internet development on languages. The advent of the Internet has revolutionized communication in many ways; it changed the way people communicate and created new platforms with far-reaching social impact. Significant avenues include but are not limited to SMS Text Messaging, e-mails, chatgroups, virtual worlds and the Web.
Educational perspective

The educational perspective of internet linguistics examines the Internet’s impact on formal language use, specifically on Standard English, which in turn affects language education. The rise and rapid spread of Internet use has brought about new linguistic features specific only to the Internet platform. These include, but are not limited to, an increase in the use of informal written language, inconsistency in written styles and stylistics and the use of new abbreviations in Internet chats and SMS text messaging, where constraints of technology on word count contributed to the rise of new abbreviations.
Stylistic perspective

This perspective examines how the Internet and its related technologies have encouraged new and different forms of creativity in language, especially in literature. It looks at the Internet as a medium through which new language phenomena have arisen. This new mode of language is interesting to study because it is an amalgam of both spoken and written languages. For example, traditional writing is static compared to the dynamic nature of the new language on the Internet where words can appear in different colors and font sizes on the computer screen.
Applied perspective

The applied perspective views the linguistic exploitation of the Internet in terms of its communicative capabilities – the good and the bad. The Internet provides a platform where users can experience multilingualism. Although English is still the dominant language used on the Internet, other languages are gradually increasing in their number of users.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Instant Messaging and the Future of Language

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) provides young users opportunities for social affinity and control over when and with whom they interact, but its long-term influence on language remains largely in the hands of parents and teachers, their traditional linguistic role models. Are email, instant messaging (IM), and text messaging on cell phones degrading the language? This question surfaces in debates among language professionals and, perhaps more important, among parents and their teenage offspring. 

If some traditionalists are correct, we must take swift action now, before these children are reduced to marginal literacy. But if those celebrating linguistic innovation are correct, adults should get out of the way of normal language change. Families and educational purists have an obvious stake in the outcome of this controversy, but so, too, do the makers and marketers of computer-based software and devices—from IM platforms to predictive text programs for cell phones. 

The problem with viewing CMC as linguistically either good or bad is twofold. On the one hand, such a dichotomous perspective ignores the variation in online communication, reflecting age, gender, education level, cultural background, personality, and years of experience with the CMC platform (listservs, for example, do not function like IM) or the purpose of the communiqué (a well-crafted email message applying for a job vs a hasty blitzmail note arranging to meet at the library at 10). On the other hand, many evils attributed to CMC, especially as practiced by teens, can be traced back to ARPANET days. (...) 

However, the linguistic novelties cropping up in CMC are as pronounced in Stockholm and Seoul as they are in San Francisco. If we look at the history of written English over the past 1,200 years (roughly from the time of Beowulf ), we find shifting patterns in the roles speech and writing play in society. Up through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, writing was essentially a handmaiden to speech and was generally rather formal. Preachers read the Bible aloud; written speeches were memorized and delivered orally; plays were intended to be performed, not published. Not surprisingly, orthographic conventions were not strict; even Shakespeare spelled his own name at least six different ways. 

Gradually, with the spread of literacy and the rise of print culture, writing became a distinct genre. Spelling began to matter, and even those with a grammar-school education knew the difference between formal and informal writing style.


Friday, 10 February 2012

What are the notable linguistic features of Computer Mediated Communication?

1. Orthography
informal (“phonetic”) spelling
do wot I did
luv from SD
dunno how easy it’ll be
speed-writing (esp. with mobile phones), combination of informal spelling with letter omission
thx 4 yr txt
absence of capitalization (even with pronoun I and proper names) 
got your email. i’ll be over later on in the day. 
2. Vocabulary 
If you give it to me to look at in the summer hols, I’ll be able to have a peek at it myself sometime.
I thin the N lot managed to dagger it quite effectively.
Oh goody... Even goodier.
use of interjections
At last — phew!
This was the last bid with N, oh, ages ago. 
Not back till Saturday: grooh.
use of “in”-terms and abbreviations (BTW, ROTFL, PTB)
BTW have you heard an update on the continuing saga?
3. Grammar
“telegraphic” language
Have forwarded the N email.
Will do, but am not back in office until Tuesday.
“chaining” (multiple coordination/subordination in sequence)
4. Discourse and Text
use of interaction features (e.g. questions)
i’ll be over later on in the day, ok?
The main trip up seems to be that what we were thinking of is not in this call, am I right?
“stream of consciousness” writing
just one more thing, do i want to go to england to teach in a school??? do i? oh well, i’ll decide that when i have to.
message-comment structures in e-mail, etc.
— Have just had your payslip and returned tax card.
— Oh goody.
hypertext (in the WWW)
5. Paralinguistics and Graphics
spaced letters
in case you’re wondering why things went R E A L S L O W just now
multiple letters
alternative markers for emphasis
*now* or _now_
capitalization (“shouting”)
little or “excessive”punctuation 
do i want to go to england to teach in a school???
“smilies” (emoticons)
Sue’s hedgehog followed Tim round the building :—)
Anyone wanna buy some CPROS lottery tickets? :—) 

What do these features tell us about CMC? 

CMC demonstrates a mix of features drawn from prototypically spoken and prototypically written media (including sub-types of these — e.g. telegraphic language) 

Text-type has an important role in determining the nature of the language used in CMC. Overall, however, the trend is towards a more informal, “spoken” style of writing. This is especially obvious at the paralinguistic/graphic level, where additional means have been developed to represent effects that are possible in face-to-face interaction but not in writing. 

The constraints of real-time interaction seem to be responsible for many of the features of CMC language. These seem then to have diffused into asynchronous text types. 
Socially, there seems to be some trend towards group solidarity amongst users of CMC. Several linguistic choices appear aimed at reducing social distance and emphasizing group membership.