Chatspeak stole my internet!

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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Southpawl_Nimrod » Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:01 am

I am sure many of you are familiar with the way many of my age peers (teenagers and preteens) (in age only, because I feel they are like me in that way alone) speak online in forums, chatrooms, instant messaging and the like. LyKE oMGZ dAy toTiLy taLk Lyk d1S!!!!11!!!!11! (<---that's not even a good example...it gets worse). How many people are disturbed, offended, or otherwise bothered by this trend?



(p.s. I'm 14)
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jun 12, 2005 3:58 am

In my view, the extent to which this is an issue chiefly depends on one's priorities and the current stage of one's life. For the youngsters writing in this manner, who, I assume, partly define their own identities in terms of their peer group norms (and to some degree the difference they are trying to assert from other groups in society, especially those in positions of authority -- all of which is of course a normal part of growing up), the mode of expression you describe is a marker of belonging. Therefore, the way they express themselves can be more important to them and their peers than what they are actually discussing, and overrides any perception they may have of creating a poor impression on those who do not belong to their peer group; indeed, some of them might even consider making such an impression desirable. Also, I suppose that for people who have no formal training in typing, it may be easier or quicker to take shortcuts like 'gr8' (versus 'great') than to type out the words in full, as well as possibly being cheaper if they are sending an SMS message.

I suspect that the majority of us who have long since left those years behind will find it at best a distraction, and at worst a freakish abomination, to encounter this sort of in-group orthography. But we ought to keep calm and try to remember what it was like to be a teenager; in addition, at least only our sense of correctness is being assaulted, not our physical being. And one or two orthographical innovations of this kind are evidently useful enough to have attained widespread usage among all age groups -- I refer to the smilies that may crop up in just about anybody's prose. :-)

To me, the really pitiful individuals are those who continue writing "C U l8R" beyond their early twenties, or who cannot at least drop the habit in more formal situations, such as when sending emails to prospective employers or colleagues. Not only is this liable to come across as inconsiderate or even outright disrespectful on their part, it suggests that their transition to adulthood has failed in some way (at least, that's my interpretation).
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Southpawl_Nimrod » Sun Jun 12, 2005 2:56 pm

Well, since I am a teenager, and I am not alone among teenagers who also find it distracting, I can't vouch for the reason of needing to belong. However, I understand it. I have to admit that there are some things that I do use, lol brb and gtg being a couple, but it's the uncalled-for capitalization, complete mispelling ("lyk dat") and grammar that is poor to the point of no one even being able to understand it that bothers me. Also, there have been a number of songs (Avril Lavigne's "Sk8r Boi" and Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone", to name a few) that have jumped on the mispelling bandwagon. I'm not sure if I'm articulating myself very well, but I just have to say that I never felt that the way I was talking overruled the subject matter of the conversation. I understand your interpretation, and to some extent can see where it is true, but I just happen to be one of those teens who, though longing to belong, tends to at least try to associate herself with a more grammatically mature group (that is, I'm completely immature in the things I talk about, as is a teen regularity, but I am saying it slightly differently).
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Shelley » Sun Jun 12, 2005 3:07 pm

Erik_Kowal, you say it so well (whatever it may happen to be at the moment). My concern is with the way chatspeak (if that's what it's called) is undermining a generation's ability to spell, write (literally), compose and otherwise manipulate language. Computers and keyboards have made penmanship obsolete. I have to type work by people whose handwriting is absolutely illegible. We've already got epidemic grammar/spelling dropout in public (signage, print material, television, etc.) and a third of the 5th graders in New York City can't read (yet -- to stay in a positive frame). Don't hold me to that statistic, by the way. I try not to fret, but what's a mother to do? I agree that it's best to remain calm.
Southpawl_Nimrod, it's not exactly offensive to me, even though your age peers may want it to be. However, I'd advise them to carry a pocket dictionary with them at all times for those rare moments when they might have to fill out an application, or write an essay or something like that.
Cheers, all!
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by dalehileman » Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:11 pm

Shelly thanks for the neologism
Is "chatspeak" not the same as "IM"
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Southpawl_Nimrod » Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:49 pm

Well when I said "chatspeak" I was just referring to the way people talk in IM, which has come to take over other mediums as well, i.e. forums and blog/journals.
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Phil White » Sun Jun 12, 2005 4:59 pm

Like any nonstandard usage, it can be (deliberately) incomprehensible to outsiders. I personally initially thought "lol" meant "lots of love" (fat chance). My prediction: one or two examples will make it into mainstream writing and possibly spoken language in the next ten years.

As far as the habit damaging people's ability to use language "correctly" is concerned, I'm not at all sure. I believe that the computer revolution of the past 20 years and the Internet revolution of the last 10 years are merely showing a clearer picture of the range of language skills that really are out there in the wild.

The fact that huge numbers of office workers have a PC on their desks and write material (even material which is subsequently published) for which they would not have been responsible 20 years ago, coupled with the fact that written material no longer goes through the hands of secretaries, the typing pool, typesetters and then back to the author for proofing, all means that even pretty formal material often contains quite significant errors of grammar and spelling and, more fundamentally, gross errors in communication. Much of what is published on the Web is written by people from backgrounds (primarily professional, but also social) in which they may well not have had access to any means of publication 20 years ago.

The same is true of chatrooms, forums and SMS. Many people who 20 years ago would possibly never have picked up a pen and paper willingly after they left school are now happily texting, chatting and contributing to forums.

And I'm not at all sure that it's a bad thing. Exposure to written language (some of it good!) and a willingness to communicate in written form are at least steps forward for many people.

What I can't condone is sloppy, uncommunicative writing on the part of people who are paid to communicate (marketing executives, technical authors, managerial and office staff who write letters, etc.), but I think that's sadly unavoidable now that the PC is pretty well ubiquitous and publishing just a click away.
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by sandx » Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:37 pm

I totally agree with you,PW. Written language, purely as a rapid means of communication,is not new. We have had shorthand for many years. Does anyone still use it?
Sloppy careless writing and speech,now that is something else.
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by russcable » Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:53 pm

There are multiple forms of "chatspeak" (although the grouping word chatspeak is a new one AFAIK) usually depending on the source.

Many acronym/abbreviations and smilies predate "instant messaging" and telephone text messaging (e.g. AFAIK, IANAL, IMHO, ;-), etc.) and come from the "much" older world of Usenet newsgroups, mailing lists, bulletin boards, etc. While these are shortenings, the medium at the time wasn't "instant" (even less instant than this forum) so speed of typing wasn't that much of an issue, rather they constitute more of a coded lingo/jargon. I mean, would you say "I am not a lawyer" or "rolling on the floor laughing my ass off" in real life often enough to come up with an abbreviation for it?

"IM", as you call it, while also considered cool, also has a primary purpose in making the messages as short as possible for various reasons besides just a lack of typing skills. How many full grammatically correct sentences have you entered using the number-pad on your phone? Try it sometime and you'll see the problem.

"l33t" or "l33t sp34k" (that's leet speak, short for elite speak) initially developed among hackers then spread into gaming and is more about "knowing the code of the cool people" than anything else. l33t is not particularly about shortening anything as many of the usages are the same length, or even longer. Some forms of l33t are really hard to type as you try to substitute punctuation for letters whenever possible - // for W, |_| for U, + for t, etc. Some other common l33t: teh for the, suXX0rz/seXX0rz/roXX0rz for sucks/sex/rocks, pown for own, pr0n for porn, joo for you. Did you notice that roXXOrz has both an o and an 0? Well depending on who you're hanging with that is either de rigeur or totally wrong.

l33t is leaking into regular computer jargon (although with out the number/vowel substitutions), e.g phishing and phreaking.
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Shelley » Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:58 pm

dalehileman, I wish I could have credit for making up "chatspeak" in this forum, but that honor goes to Kori (see title of thread).
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:33 pm

Any chance of a dictionary? It would have to be on-line and updated daily I grant you. I thought 'lol' was 'Lots of love' too, if it's not, what the hell is it?
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by russcable » Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:41 pm

Laugh(ing) Out Loud
There are about a billion lists out there - here's one http://www.techdictionary.com/chat.html .
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:38 pm

Oh happiness. Thanks Russ, if my children still lived with me I would probably had no problems, but there I am, a boring old fart. I hadn't even heard of "IM" until this thread. I must get some younger friends.
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jun 13, 2005 4:21 pm

And perhaps get a younger lover while you're at it! ;-)
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Chatspeak stole my internet!

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jun 14, 2005 8:13 am

Better I don't tell the Boss about that posting think you?
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