Follow That Barbarism!

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timberline
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Follow That Barbarism!

Postby timberline » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:40 pm

A new language is being born, one that signs off an e-mail with cu or lol, meaning See you or laughing out loud, and an emoticon to signal a response. Knight-Ridder Columnist Robert Boyd states that netspeak is a new language in addition to verbal speech and writing. Scholars, he says, believe it’s closer to how we talk than how we write, “using short back-and-forth statements, sometimes consisting of single words” and “relaxed about using grammar.” And even the Japanese are using emoticons—kaomoji, or face marks—more than Americans.

Further, Boyd states, netspeak is leading to blogs, which are “evidence of a new genre of diary writing.”

As a professional writer who's still learning his grammar and punctuation, I’m overwhelmed. (Is anyone ever underwhelmed?) I don’t know the language! I had to ask my 11-year-old granddaughter to copy edit a recent short story to make the IMs correct.

Does anyone have a strong opinion on whether netspeak marks the death of English or the dawn of the new literati?
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Postby charlesp » Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:03 pm

I don't know that it will be either that good OR that bad for the language... but I don't think it will help many people be better writers. This might be a GOOD thing in disguise as those with the ability to communicate effectively via the written word may be in a more influential position. The bad side is the obvious decline of understanding and higher thought amongst the reading public.

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Postby pengwenn » Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:08 pm

Language changes and evolves over time to suit the needs of the people who use it. Whether this "new language" is here to stay I don't know. For me personally it takes away the beauty of language. The author's choice of adjectives to stir emotions in the reader. "I look forward to your delicate kisses down my neck" has a different feel then CUL8R.
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Postby Mlou » Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:34 pm

It's just another example of the (deplored) dumbing down of America!
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Postby timberline » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:10 am

My own feelings? Netspeak is like ebonics, a dialect you use when walking on the wild side.

For more on this there are these sites:

http://www.stanford.edu/class/pwr3-25/g ... ction.html

http://www.house-of-hope.net/chat/netspeak.html
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Postby mslover » Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:03 pm

Personally I like the whole IM shorthand language - it's fun - but I only use it in IM messages. I would never adopt it as standard writing form.

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Postby TinaS1570 » Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:20 pm

I agree with MS. I use it for when I chat on message boards and IM. I don't use it in my writing.
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Postby charlesp » Thu Mar 24, 2005 2:27 pm

Found this on Slashdot today... more on the "netspeak" effect on language...

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/0 ... 232&tid=95

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=s ... etspeak_wa

The gyst being...

"Linguists say not to worry too much about Netspeak, otherwise known as the language of choice in chat rooms and IM clients. According to this Yahoo! article, linguists say that terms like "cya", "brb", "afk" are a healthy way of exploring the power of the written language. They went on to say "FYI, RTFA"!"

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Postby timberline » Thu Mar 24, 2005 2:59 pm

CP, thanks. I feel like a semiotician. (Eh? Eh?)

Loved the comment I got back from a friend. Says she, "I also know an English professor who is getting in his essays LOL and OMG (for 'Oh my God.') I'm not kidding. When he sees that, instead of giving the person a grade, he gives them a zero -- and then writes 'WTF?' in big red letters."
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Postby charlesp » Thu Mar 24, 2005 3:04 pm

timberline wrote:CP, thanks. I feel like a semiotician. (Eh? Eh?)

Loved the comment I got back from a friend. Says she, "I also know an English professor who is getting in his essays LOL and OMG (for 'Oh my God.') I'm not kidding. When he sees that, instead of giving the person a grade, he gives them a zero -- and then writes 'WTF?' in big red letters."


:)) :rofl:

that's great... I know I've been spending too much time online when in mid face-to-face conversation I get the urge for an emoticon :oops:

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Postby tearsonroses » Thu Mar 24, 2005 4:56 pm

I don't really like netspeak. I have always felt like it is violating or defileing written language.I don't really like netspeak. I have always felt like it is violating or defiling written language. It is okay to use it in IMs, but it is better to write it out in any situation were you have more time like blogs or message boards.

Emoticons are a little different though. When you are talking to someone you rely on their voice tone and facial expressions to determine their meaning. Formal writing allows for this, but in a situation where people are communicating using only one or two sentences at a time you need some to fill in the gaps.
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Postby pengwenn » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:54 pm

I have a different view of netspeak, in that I saw and used it before I saw it on the computer. I worked with several deaf people and they had a TTY phone on one of their desks for them to use. It's just a keyboard with a scrolling 2 line display that is their telephone. They abbreviate a lot of things because it takes so much time to type things out and when the line wraps it does it automatically at the end regardless if it's in the middle of word and it doesn't keep the letters together. Once you learn how to read it and type it it feels not much different in the speed of the conversation then if you were actually saying those things. I had to answer the phone sometimes if they weren't there and it took time to get use to it but was pretty slick once I did. In emails and other computer writing I don't like it. I think things should be written out. On the TTY nothing is saved; it's like the spoken word once said/typed it can't be taken back. With email things are little more permenant. Do you think in 50 years if you read an email from today you would know what it said?
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Postby Quicksilver Wolf » Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:50 am

It is the death of English. Those bloody teenagers don't know any other language, so books are useless to them (since they can't read them). Even worse, they won't learn to read them. Well, i'm off to have a few beers with the ghost of the english language. I could do with some more Phonics Downs, while I'm at it (they are feathers that he leaves around for supporters to hold onto until such a day as he comes back to life in a storm of fire to wipe the enemy off the face of the Earth).
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Postby timberline » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:35 am

Did you hear about the guy who wrote, "I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I don't have time to write a short note"?

I think some of netspeak is the result of people running out of time. Lowered expectations also have something to do with the degradation of English. No one, least of all our president of the moment, is shortchanged for misusing English as a work in progress.
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Changes

Postby Guest » Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:16 am

Whether or not the Internet and Netspeak replaces English, their affects are so pervasive that they cannot help but change it . . . as surely as did the Norman invasion . . . as surely as did transplanting English to the Americas.

One change happening now is not the lowering of the bar for “published” writers--it’s no bar whatsoever online. Anyone with a computer can set up a website, become his or her own editor, publish a desktop book, establish an ezine, and so on. Those writers limbo under the bar formerly held by newspaper, magazine, and book editors and become “published” writers. They may not have pots, but they now have Windows through which to throw out spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

The protection afforded by some form of competent, standard editing is simple. Writing is a code. As CharlesP implied, if writers don’t key in a similar code, we readers deal with an ever-rising tower of babel.

We’re left to figure out ambiguous meanings in “I found a dollar walking home.”

Without fundamental understanding of commas, we’re forced into a guessing game between “Let’s eat, Grandma” and “Let’s eat Grandma.”

The inclusion or exclusion of one little mark can be critical. “Dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot” is SOS, a cry for help. “Dot-dash-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dash-dot-dot dash” is LOL, but the sender may not be laughing when no ship arrives.

Like CharlesP and others here, I’m concerned for the reader, without whom all writing is just so much personal blog.

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Postby LostCoastArtist » Sun Apr 03, 2005 10:04 pm

Netspeak and 733T-speak are pet peeves of mine. I grit my teeth whenever I see someone using them.
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Postby Anblick » Sun Apr 03, 2005 10:29 pm

What the heck is 733T-speak?
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Postby LostCoastArtist » Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:55 am

Kind of like a "secret code" where letters and symbols start replacing letters. It's supposed to be "cool", but it gives me a headache to try and read it. I can't really give a good example of it because I don't understand all of it and I think some people use different versions of it, but...

4 or @ = A
7 = L
3 = E
|\| = N
etc.

They also change the spellings of words to make them more "cool". Like spelling fear as phear. So you end up with sentences that look something like this...

P|-|34R |\/|Y 733+ S|<|77s!!!!!!!!!1!!! (Translation: Fear my leet skills!)

I have no idea if that is "correct" or not. But you get the idea.
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Postby LostCoastArtist » Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:11 am

Heh. I did a Google on "leet speak" and got this page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

It explains things a little better and has more examples.
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Postby Guest » Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:29 am

MisplacedShorelineCreativePerson:

Ha ha ha (I mean LOL). How can you "mess up" something purposefully messed up from the onset? It's the horror of dyslexia run amok? Ur 411 iz kewl. It rawks. Thanx.

I taught English in a small college forty miles from the Canadian border, American Indian reservations and Hutterite colonies scattered on all sides, each with its own dialect. Spelling and other syntax proved creative enough without the invention of new languages, but Netspeak joined us all the same.

In order to teach frosh writing classes with any semblance of continuity, most of us were forced to conducted English 101, 102, and 103 as foreign language classes. In our classrooms or in papers, any deviation from standard U.S. spelling, punctuation, and grammar lost grade points, even in private conversations or in captured notes.

Ha ha ha. My newspaper editors treated me in the same dictatorial manner. I think it all helped to shape a writer who now has some of the basics under a modicum of control.

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Postby timberline » Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:33 am

In a way, netspeak and leet speak are part of the rich heritage of neologisms. For example,....

> Formal Spanish calls the Web la red while Spanglish calls it el internet or la web, and to e-mail someone is formally enviar un correo electronico instead of imailar.

> Coastal Gullah took the King James Version ("And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them") and turned it into En de Pharisee en de law-teesha dem staat fa mek complain, say, "Dis man sociate wid sinna en ebn eat mong am."

> And there are hobo signs that are purely graphic icons.

Ain't it wonderful when there's a descriptive approach to communicating as well as a prescriptive school-marm ordination?!
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Postby Guest » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:01 am

Not really. After choking down umpteen cups of Ovaltine in order to collect enough lid labels, sending them in, checking the mailbox every day for eight weeks, working Little Orphan Annie's secret decoder, and figuring out the next coded message . . . it was only as Jean Shepherd and the rest of us gullables discovered: "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."

This ten-year-old cynic found prescriptive schoolmarm codes worked well enough to scam me without having to go to all the trouble of enabling the latest cryptograher.

Ha ha ha. Or so I thought until I studied Icelandic in grad school in order to read the original Beowulf and found it was pretty much "Be sure to drink your mead."

Chase
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Postby CycoMerlin14 » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:56 am

This has been around for years. I stopped using it when I became a serious writer. So in any online conversations, it's either good grammar or no conversation.

I read a school newspaper article last year that featured the topic. But gradually as the article progressed, the language turned into net-language. Very funny read.
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Postby timberline » Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:21 pm

Chase, jeez, you got Jean Shepherd on the radio--or was it The Christmas Story that soured you? (The house in Ohio where it was filmed just sold for $150K.) As much as I love formal English and school marms, this is a piece I've been working on:

"The child is the father of the man, or at least his own best teacher. My own child days were ominous. They were filled with omens, portents and symbols. They were tokens as powerful as having a Lone Ranger pistol ring. They were as mysterious as the X-ray machine at the shoe store where we watched our toes wiggle while the salesman sought out our Buster Browns....

"....Now I’m sitting in my office looking at a penned note taped to the water fountain outside my door. “Please do not throw coffee grinds in the water fountain because they clog the drain.” Grinds? It should be grounds. The writer’s characters are an uneven mixture of upper and lower case letters, carefully formed as though the writer had labored at communicating, struggled to reach his or her audience, but was forced to use a strange, literate code.

"Why didn’t the writer simply draw a picture of a coffee pot and then put an X through the picture? Straight Arrow would have understood that at a glance. Any tramp, any child would have comprehended the meaning. But symbols are ignored. Hordes of beautiful children are being kept prisoner in the grownups I see."
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Straight Arrow

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:49 pm

Timber,

Incidentally, I'm from Big Timber, Montana. Lewis and Clark used big cottonwoods near there to build huge outrigger canoes to float down the Yellowstone to the Missouri on their way home.

I read Shepard's hilarious In God We Trust--All Others Pay Cashbefore the wonderful Christmas Story came out, but I also listened to Little Orphan Annie on the radio first-hand.

Loved Straight Arrow, "brought to you by Nabisco." Then native drums would beat out, "N-A-B-I-S-C-O, Nabisco is the name to know. For a breakfast you can't beat, buy Nabisco shredded wheat!" Who could miss the weekly river of gold running through Straight Arrow's cave? After choking down four boxes of shredded wheat, in place of my grandmother's delicious waffles, I sent for the red cowboy neckerchief (worn by his cowboy alter ego) and the arrow ring dipped in gold so Straight Arrow could tell his little pals from the bad guys.

I'm so glad you remember that teriffic radio program. It aired Saturdays after my sisters hogged the radio to listen to Big John and Sparkie, introduced by "The Teddybear's Picnic" and The Buster Brown Show (That's my dog Tige. He lives in a shoe. I'm Buster Brown. Look for me in there, too." (Woof!)

My sisters always huffed out of the living room when Straight Arrow came on, and now they claim I made him up, as no one would put something so dumb on public radio. Girls know absolutely nothing about neat, keen stuff!! Or anything else for that matter. Each of my sisses taught grade school well over thirty years and still spell "a lot" as one word. I'm sure they were adopted.

Chase

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