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03. 19. 2008

Infomania, slacktivism and nanoblahblah - How the net's changing (and keeping track of) the way we speak


As a former English Language student, I'm fascinated by the influence of technology on the way we speak. It's nice to see words that went out of fashion decades ago being re-appropriated: For example, "wireless" was the word for a radio when my grandparents were growing up, now it's a convenient way to log on to the internet.

It's even more fun to look at some of the weird and wonderful new words of this digital decade. A recent New Scientist article talked about the ways technology has influenced our lingo: from the well-known new words it's thrown up (blog, podcast) to the not so well-known ("nanoblahblah" apparently means "very tiny nonsense" -- cute).

The Times took things further by examining some great neologisms (new words) of the past and present: most entertaining was "infomaniac", which is self-explanatory (if you spend too much time on Google and Wikipedia, you could be one...). I also like "slacktivism": the art of signing a million online petitions bit never actually taking action.

Of course if you want to stay on top of new words and new meanings for old words, you should regularly check Urban Dictionary.

Another really entertaining site is Wordlustitude, where Mark Peters blogs about the newly-coined words that never caught on (including real citations): scapepoodle, anyone?

Posted by diane    Category: culture | current affairs | on the web
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