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Internet Slang consists of a number of different ways of speaking, sub-languages, expressions, spelling techniques and idioms that have obtained most of their meaning on the Internet. These different kinds of language can be either known as chatspeak, SMS speak or IM language.
Intentional misspellings may have stemmed from space restriction on instant messaging and SMS services, including Twitter. However, some of these mispellings have come from accidental typographical errors that have been embraced by the community. One example of this is “Teh,” an error when typing “The.” Deliberate usage of Teh dates back to the late 1990s in real-time gaming chats and IRC channels and was later popularized as a term in LOLspeak.
Coming straight from SMS language, this is a way of replacing entire words or bits of words by their phonetic equivalent embodied into single letters or figures and it is often found in 1337speak. Many memes tend to reuse these terms on their own, as can be seen by examples such as In Ur base or LOLcats.
Disemvoweling is the practice of removing all vowels from a token word and is also found in SMS/IM language.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
would, after being disemvowelled, look like this:
Th qck brwn fx jmps vr th lzy dg
1337speak consists of replacing a letter by its closest figure’s look-alike, or by using various keyboard signs such as “+”, “(”, “[”, “/”, “_” and more to recreate that letter. A Russian form of 1337speak known as Padonkaffsky jargon or Olbanian also exists and a Filipino equivalent known as Jejemon emerged in 2010.
More than a slang, it symbolizes a type of language, often pointed as being used by teenagers, consisting of the same letter in a word repeated several times for emphasis. Other spelling phenomena has been derived from it such as !!!111oneeleven as an ironic way to replace an exclamation mark or FUUUUUU to express great frustration, and coming directly from Rageguy.
Acronyms and Initialisms
Acronyms, the art of creating a neology through the association of letters and initials between them, exist on the Internet since the late 1980s.
Starting with LOL, from laughing out loud and used to convey great hilarity, hundreds of others have been made since then. Among them can be found : OMG, BRB, RTFM or also tl;dr.
The Internet is also the cradle of many expressions whose complete meanings can only be acknowledge and understood because of or in relation to the Internet. While some of them are used as synonymous of another word, the way Over 9000 can be viewed as a replacement in expressing lots or bucketload the same way win and fail are respectively meaning success and failure, others have their own meaning, such as DERP as a way to signify stupidity, or also Fag as a suffix which has a totally different meaning and doesn’t necessarily address homosexuals in a derogatory way.
On August 28th, 2013, Oxford Dictionaries Online announced they would be adding 43 new words, many of which were internet slang terms including “Bitcoin,” “Derp,” “Selfie,” “Twerk” and “tl;dr.” Between Twitter and Facebook, the announcement was shared more than 750 times. That day, dozens of news media outlets and internet culture blogs reported on the additions including Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Time NewsFeed, Mashable, TechCrunch, NPR and the Huffington Post. The Atlantic also shared a satirical piece highlighting the use of every new word disguised as a memo from the Oxford Dictionary’s Word Selection Committee (shown below).
That day, the additions were discussed at length on Twitter with more than 25,000 mentions of “Twerk Dictionary” and more than 42,000 mentions of “Selfie Dictionary.” Also on the 28th, actor Morgan Freeman was asked to read the day’s headlines, including the dictionary additions, during an interview on Headline News Morning Express (shown below). After reading the definition for “twerking” aloud, he admitted he had never heard the word before.
OxfordWords Blog – Buzzworthy words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online – squee!
Chicago Tribune – ‘Twerk,’ ‘selfie’ added to Oxford English Dictionary