The Guide to Internet Linguistics: How is it Used and What Does it Mean?

Over the course of the past decade, internet language has made its way into the English language more than what many would have imagined. The verb “to google” is now recognized all over the world, in multiple different languages. However, at one point, it was merely something that was said on the internet.

english-languageMany people think that internet language and text speak are going to destroy the English language, but when others look at it, they see an evolution of the written word. If you spend a lot of your time online, you’re probably already able to pick up the subtleties in the way someone talks online.  You might not realize it, but the way that you reply on the internet is deliberately constructed; even subconsciously. The way a person says goodbye or hello to you could give you a clue as to if they’re upset.

Take a look at some of the everyday things you are going to find in internet linguistics, and what it means.

Using the Caps Lock Key

When the internet first started and online communication became the popular thing, most people didn’t spend too much time worrying about proper punctuation, or capital letters. Jump forward years later, and the caps lock key enforces capital letters, and they get used as an emphasis or a way to express emotions. Does that make sense? GOOD! However, there is a catch 22 with it. You should be using capital letters in their proper form, too. Otherwise, people think that you don’t know how to type.

All About the ~Tilde~

Initially, the tilde got represented in most coding as a way to mirror values or deconstruct classifications. Now, the majority of people still don’t know what to use them for. Occasionally you can find them as part of a username, or commonly described as “the little squiggle beside the one key,” but do they have a purpose in internet language? In cyber language, it’s said to represent sarcasm. Wikipedia says that it’s a symbol for “approximately.”

Repeating Letters

How many times have you sent an instant message with “heyyyyy,” instead of “hey”? The former seems much more pleasant, and in the world of the internet, it is. The amount of letters you put after a word typically intensifies or softens the word that you’re trying to say. Bye, byyye, byeeeee. It’s the same word, but each variation has a different meaning. Realllllly good sounds so much better than really good, doesn’t it?

Uncertain Ellipsis…

Ellipsis can get used in multiple ways through text and instant messaging. The majority of the time, it’s the equivalent of a raised eyebrow and promotes skepticism. However, when you’re using the ellipsis, you can also let someone know that they’re in trouble, that you’re uncertain, or that you have something else to say. Like a lot of things on the internet, you just never honestly know what an ellipsis is saying…

*Action, Action, Action*

When actions get used in internet talk, it’s usually to bring in a physical element to the virtual space. You most commonly see actions used in fandom communities, and typically, asterisks are used to complement the words of the actions.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Using acronyms and abbreviations on the internet is one of the most common things. Abbreviations such as tbh, rn, omg and lol have become so popular that they’re used in everyday jargon, too. They’re also known for shifting the meaning of the sentence that they get included in. They are the discourse particles of internet slang. Words such as well, right, so, and okay are also discourse particles.

The Keyboard Smash

One of the most frequent ways to express anger or frustration on the internet is to smash your fingers against the keys to form an unintelligible word. The string of random letters doesn’t represent anything but the symbol of emotion where words won’t do justice.

internet-linguisticsSurprisingly, internet English today has taken on so many forms that there are multiple moods, dialects, and modalities represented in it. It might not be ruining the English language, but it’s making its way into real life. However, the distinction is barely noticeable.

Have you used internet jargon in your everyday life? Do you think slang from the internet is ruining the English language? Leave a comment below.

What Do You Think?

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