In a world that boasts over 6500 languages ‘Technospeak’ is arguably the most dynamic.
Internet ‘lingo’ has filtered down from its origins on sites like QQ and 4chan to the mainstream via instant messaging, text messaging and social media platforms.
Although only a little over a tenth of the population has access to the web, the majority of people are still learning ‘Technospeak’ through BBM messaging, WhatsApp and Mxit.
In his book Language and the Internet, David Crystal argues that the Internet has encouraged dramatic expression in the variety and creativity of language.
On the flipside of the proverbial coin, concern has been raised about the integrity of language and by how far its standards will be lowered by ‘Technospeak’.
The text-savvy take a descriptive stance – the use of language is altered for function and in the case of short messaging, less is more.
The Internet elite, tertiary educated and even the common ‘troll’ take a prescriptive stance.
Concerned with the way language should be used, they take it upon themselves to correct other users’ grammar where applicabal (*applicable).
Learning the ‘lingo’
The rules, or lack thereof, of Internet ‘lingo’ are not taught in any academic institution. Time spent on message boards or search engines are however sure cures for the technologically tongue-tied.
The home of the infamous Anonymous’ founder and administrator’s candid explanations of “lurker” and what it means to be “Rickrolled” make for an entertaining read.
Once users have got their virtual vocabulary down pat there is also the option to learn the real language of the web: code.
The New York Times reported a surge in demand for online classes in Web programming.
Users who understand that the Internet is fast becoming a foundation for entertainment and education believe that being able to understand code will ensure that they are not left behind.
More and more users are making a concerted effort to learn the languages of the Web.
Will this disrupt the lineage of ‘Technospeak’ or will denizens of internet forums continue to inform us of its usage?