To Netspeak or Not To Netspeak, That Is the Question

WASHINGTON - Many schoolteachers, editors and parents profess to be horrified by "Netspeak" - the distinctive language that young people are using more and more to talk with each other on the Internet.

Purists should relax, a panel of experts declared at a recent symposium on "Language on the Internet" in Washington. This rapidly spreading digital dialect of English is doing more good than harm, they contended. More from KnightRidder ->

Critics of netspeak include teachers and traditional business communicators who believe this practice only weakens the already crumbling public education system. However, others take another view of this. "The Internet is fostering new kinds of creativity through language," said David Crystal, a historian of language at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom. "It's the beginning of a new stage in the evolution of the written language and a new motivation for child and adult literacy."

I believe that in business communication, it is extremely important not to pollute the language with short-cuts. To allow netspeak vocabulary and smileys to lace emails to a manager, customer, co-worker or partner is an affront to the education needed to be successful in business. Business communications need to adhere to proper writing guideline and etiquette. Asking for a promotion or responding to a "request for proposal" in day-glow pink ink on black stationary will get the recipient's immediate attention, but not with a positive result.

Personal communication between close friends is different. The relationship between friends create a more relaxed situation that permits, and even encourages, the use of netspeak vocabulary. Liberal use of netspeak is simply a way for friends to say, "We're friends, no need to keep the tie on around me."

Our language is constantly evolving. Technological breakthroughs are allowing us with more options on how to communicate (re: wireless devices, land-line phones, video-phones, etc). Netspeak is a direct creation of the digital revolution, and it allows for the exchange of information to go from asynchronous to near immediate communication. Add to this the use of emoticons and smileys, and a rapid email exchange seems more like an in-person conversation than a letter.

So, before deciding to try out your newly learned netspeak vocabulary around the office, just ask yourself, "Is using IMHO going to get me a raise or get me fired?"

Sample of netspeak jargons:
btw "by the way" - when making an unrelated comment, or starting a new topic
lol "laugh out loud" - often used to show sarcasm
f2f "face to face" - refers to physically meeting
imho "in my humbled opinion" - expressing an opinion
newbies new users on the Internet
troll a person who posts only to inflame opinions
Sample of emoticons:
:-) smiling/agreeing
;-) winking/just kidding
:-( frowning/boo hoo
:( sad
:-|| angry

Links of interest:
another point of view ...

Anonymous d.d.

Well, it makes sense that people use shortcut ... who wants to pay the telecoms for sending msgs?

- dd

Anonymous wally

atm=at the moment

i discovered that yesterday

- wally

Anonymous Jason Humley

This reminds me of a girl who thought LOL meant 'lots of love' and said to someone 'how did your auntie's funeral go? LOL"

jason humley

Anonymous Mike Jacobs

With all the confusion, and dynamic changes of netspeak, I think there is going to be a lot of room for misinterpretation.

- mike jacobs

speak up!

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