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Analysis Of Internet Jargon

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An analysis of Internet jargon

Approximately 30 million people world-wide use the Internet and online

services daily. The Net

is growing exponentially in all areas, and a rapidly increasing number

of people are finding

themselves working and playing on the Internet. The people on the Net

are not all rocket scientists

and computer programmers; they're graphic designers, teachers, students,

artists, musicians,

feminists, Rush Limbaugh-fans, and your next door neighbors. What these

diverse groups of people

have in common is their language. The Net community exists and thrives

because of effective written

communication, as on the net all you have available to express yourself

are typewritten words. If you

cannot express yourself well in written language, you either learn more

effective ways of

communicating, or get lost in the shuffle.

"Netspeak" is evolving on a national and international level. The

technological vocabulary once used

only by computer programmers and elite computer manipulators called

"Hackers," has spread to all

users of computer networks. The language is currently spoken by people

on the Internet, and is

rapidly spilling over into advertising and business. The words "online,"

"network," and "surf the net"

are occurring

more and more frequently in our newspapers and on

television. If you're like most

Americans, you're feeling bombarded by Netspeak. Television advertisers,

newspapers, and

international businesses have jumped on the "Information Superhighway"

bandwagon, making the

Net more accessible to large numbers of

not-entirely-technically-oriented people. As a result,

technological vocabulary is entering into non-technological

communication. For example, even the

archaic UNIX command "grep," (an acronym meaning Get REpeated Pattern)

is becoming more

widely accepted as a synonym of "search" in everyday communication.

The argument rages as to whether Netspeak is merely slang, or a jargon

in and of itself. The

language is emerging based loosely upon telecommunications vocabulary

and computer jargons, with

new derivations and compounds of existing words, and shifts creating

different usages; all of which

depending quite heavily upon clippings. Because of these reasons, the

majority of Net-using linguists

classify Netspeak as a dynamic jargon in and of itself, rather than as a

collection of slang.

Linguistically, the most interesting feature of Netspeak is its

morphology. Acronyms and

abbreviations make up a large part of Net jargon. FAQ (Frequently Asked

Question), MUD

(Multi-User-Dungeon), and URL (Uniform Resource Locator) are some of the

most frequently seen

TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) on the Internet. General abbreviations

abound as well, in more

friendly and conversationally conducive forms, such as TIA (Thanks In

Advance), BRB (Be Right

Back), BTW (By The Way), and IMHO (In My Humble Opinion.) These

abbreviations can be

baffling to new users, and speaking in abbreviations takes some getting

used to. Once users are used

to them, though, such abbreviations are a nice and easy way of

expediting communication.

Derivation is another method by which many words are formed. The word

Internet itself is the word

"net" with the prefix "inter-" added to it. Another interesting example

is the word "hypertext," used to

describe the format of one area of the Internet, the WWW (World Wide

Web). The WWW is

made up of millions of pages of text with "hotlinks" that allow the user

to jump to another page with

different information on it. "Hypertext," derived by adding the prefix

"hyper-" to the word "text,"

produces the definition "a method of storing data through a computer

program that allows a user to

create and link fields of information at will and to retrieve the data

nonsequentially," according to




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