1. Alejandro89
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    Alejandro89 Member

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    Language and the net

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Alejandro89, Mar 27, 2016.

    I've been reading the rules and they prohibit net-speak, but I wonder if it just in normal posts, or even in literature works? Lenguage is a living, breathing thing, and as writers it's important we understant that. Not saying all texts should be written like a whats app message, but it is a posibility.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If it's appropriate and part of your actual work that you post in the Workshop, that perfectly fine. It's part of your work. What we frown upon is regular forum communication that is written in truncated net-speak. It's a writing forum, not tumblr. ;)
     
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  3. Alejandro89
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    Alejandro89 Member

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    Ah! Okay, just wanted to bring the issue up. I wonder how much the internet will affect the way we built literature in the future.
     
  4. Gilganjun
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    Gilganjun New Member

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    I think the English language might look very different in time due to net-speech and text-speech. Standardization of Modern English, as we know it today, has been around for only about 300 years. Net/Text-speech has become so common that I think it's inevitable that it will be formerly recognized in official dictionaries, possibly within the next 15 years I'd guess.

    Consequently, it will start to be taught in schools and I think it'll eventually transform parts of the English language into something quite different to what we're currently used to. If that happens, it'll possibly alter the way we speak too, in quite a significant way.

    Language is a fascinating thing. To think that the English language has it's roots in India, from original Sanskirt, which eventually transformed into Latin, Spanish, Italian, Germanic, Romanian, French and English. It's quite mind-boggling that English could be viewed as technically a dialect of an Indian language!
     
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  5. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Er, no. English and Sanskrit do arise from the same source, P.I.E, but it does not come from Sanskrit.
    I doubt texting will have any more of an influence on spelling than simple time would.

    Personally, I do prohibit the use of text speak in novels and the like. Sadly, I'm not considered a very reputable authority.
     
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  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Language evolves, and nothing wrong with that. Words take on new meanings, new words enter the language, old words become less frequently used. But there's a difference between normal language evolution and the crash job this 'netspeak' is doing to our ability to communicate complicated thoughts. What's next? Scratching our armpits and making faces at each other?

    I can understand using 'netspeak' or abbreviations while texting. But when it starts creeping in to other forms of written communication and limiting our vocabulary to the extent it already does, I begin to worry. It will be great, won't it, if the next couple of generations of doctors, engineers, writers and scientists can read actual textbooks rather than just texts?

    They won't, if their parents and teachers can only read netspeak. Who are they going to learn reading from?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The end result:

    verbs.png
     
  8. Alejandro89
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    Alejandro89 Member

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    These are good points, but we also have to see why net speak exists: it has to do with the rythm of modern life. "Lol" and other particules like that really help to give a tone to short messages that otherwhise would have a hard time creating one by themselfs. Im pointing this out just so we can add it to our toolbox. And as previously mentioned, context is everything. One final thought: how would you feel if in the future all social, non-spoken communication becomes a series of emojis? (kinda kidding, kinda curious)
     
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  9. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    I would feel like we were living in ancient Egypt.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's much more complex than that. Firstly, dictionaries are not authoritative, they are historical. A huge number of words in any modern dictionary are dead words no longer used by anyone in any speaking region anywhere on the planet. They are, in effect, no longer valid words because they no longer satisfy two of the most fundamental rules of what makes a word a word. Firstly, the word has to convey meaning to at least some portion of the populace in which the word is found. This is why words that are only found in particular settings, such as technical lingo or industry lingo, are valid words even though the greater populace does not make use of them and may not even be aware they exist. Secondly, the meaning the word conveys has to possess some level of stability within the group making use of it; ergo, there has to be agreement on meaning within the population. Semantic shift will always happen to some words, but as the shift takes place, it encompasses the group making use of the word. Dead words do not satisfy either condition and are thus dead. The dictionary is a mass graveyard. Just because a word is in there does not mean it has any current validity whatsoever.

    In contrast, there are some words that enjoy extremely lively use, satisfy all the requirements for a word to be a valid word, yet are frowned upon and taught as "incorrect" in schools. Most famous of all such words is ain't. The first recorded use of ain't is from the mid 1700's, which means it was very probably in use for quite a ways further back than that recorded use. Over 300 years of use in the language, used in all speaking regions of English, American English, British English, Australian English, Canadian English, everywhere. Absolutely found in the dictionary, yet still teachers across the globe cluck their tongues at its use.

    Also, we must take register into account. There is the way we speak on the street and with our friends, and then there is the way we speak in more formal settings. There is casual writing, and there is more formal writing. You would never expect to find, within the pages of a text-book, the following narrative: You see, what had happened was, these French people and these British people, and some Dutch dudes, and I think maybe some Portuguese guys, and definitely some Spanish dudes, all got it into their heads like in the 1400's or 1500's to go see if there was maybe some other shit out there that they could, you know, make some money off of, stack that paper, get their game up. The fact that, yes, there exists a very active mode of speech that includes such syntax, does not mean that it supplants and usurps the more standard mode of speech in more formal settings and across the more homogeneous contextual use of the language.

    The thing is that slang, be it of the old school spoken variety, or of the new-school digital variety is, by its very nature, ephemeral. It has a very, very, very short shelf life. It rarely lasts any amount of time because of the very reasons that it comes into being and why people use such words. It may be the showiest of all linguistic changes, but the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. I genuinely do not foresee net-speak having any great impact on the language at all.

    I spent all of my teen years in the 1980's. The 80's was a decade obsessed with slang terms and catch phrases. Mass media had hooked into youth culture and was generating and propagating slang en masse. None if it survives today in current use. You'll only hear it in silly 80's breakdance movies and in an occasional, scathingly ironic way to indicate that someone has fallen woefully behind the times.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that, in particular, the parts of net speak that came about because of per-character costs on texts (a limitation that's already mostly gone) and the difficulty of thumb typing (no doubt to be solved somehow soon) will vanish without a trace.
     
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  12. LostThePlot
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    The point really is that you aren't supposed to write narration in leet speak. Its horrible to read and doesn't add anything. However within speech marks or other direct expressions of character thought then its absolutely fair game to use whatever the character would use. Leet speak is just another kind of slang specific to a certain kind of people so if that's how they talk (or type) then absolutely do it. But not in narration. Books like Finnegans Wake and Trainspotting are very hard to read just because the narration isn't clearly expressed.
     
  13. Callista Reina
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    Callista Reina Member

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    [QUOTE="....Leet speak is just another kind of slang specific to a certain kind of people so if that's how they talk (or type) then absolutely do it. But not in narration...[/QUOTE]

    I completely agree with this sentiment. Overall, literature should be written in proper, conventional language, but the characters themselves should not talk or think in this language unless it is pertinent to their character. Even people who write well and with proper grammar don't actually think or speak in "proper English". Personally, I like it when a character uses some specific type of "Leet" because it is a strong characterization tool that speaks to other elements of the story (like setting) as well. On the flip side though, this language can get confusing.
     
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  14. LostThePlot
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    It can. The key thing is context and expression there of. With a clear idea of what's happening (via narration in normal english) the context informs what's being said. Even with weird or completely imaginary forms of slang seeing characters smile or sneer as they say it informs the intent. It's why A Clockwork Orange's slang isn't a big deal while Trainspotting's is. In the abstract nadsat words like 'krovvy' and 'rooker' are hard to deal with but in context you can figure it out well enough.

    Even in near real time we can read a passage like this:

    But, O brothers, as my rooker reached for the britva in my inside carman I got this like picture in my mind's glazzy of this insulting chelloveck howling for mercy with the red red krovvy all streaming out of his rot.

    And we can figure out what Alex is saying. Even if we can't there's nouns and verbs we recognise and so we can follow. Alex narrates the whole story this way and it's not a problem because there's enough context.
     
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  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I read this book at the DLIFLC as a Russian student. It was the de rigueur book to have in one's barracks room, not unlike a copy of On the Road is a must-have accessory placed with perfectly purposeful carelessness in uncounted university dorm rooms across America.

    Anyway, speaking Russian makes the text a breeze. Rooker is from рука (ruka) meaning hand. Britva is an unaltered pull from бритва meaning razor (old-school folding kind). Glazzy is from глаз (glaz) meaning eye. Chelloveck is unaltered from человек meaning person (usually a male person). Krovvy is from кровь (krov) meaning blood.

    Reading that book became more like reading Russlish rather than a speculative formation of slang.

    </rather pointless ramble> :bigoops:
     
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  16. Callista Reina
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    Callista Reina Member

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    That makes sense. I couldn't really pick up on what that passage was saying, even with the words I knew! I think that if I tried to read a book narrated like that, I would get frustrated and not finish it. But that's just me and I don't know Russian. :)
     
  17. LostThePlot
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    Nadsat is a weird form of slang because it is heavily Russian (and I think maybe some Roma?) derived built on top of a certain kind of British English including some rhyming slang, some Shakespeare and some just weird ways to express yourself. The passage I quoted is from towards the end of the book, which is why Alex isn't trying to express himself more clearly but the point really is that even if you get lost you can get the second part of the sentence; even without the wider context (this is after Alex has been brain washed and is demonstrating the success of his treatment; put on stage and told he's allowed to hurt the guy yelling insults at him) we can get that Alex wants to hurt something, likely a person. That's the important meaning here. He wants to hurt something. And the next sentence shows his brainwashing was successful and thinking about hurting people makes him physically ill.

    Even with no meaning what so ever from the slang there's enough to pick that up. Even just given 'I got a picture of this insulting [noun] howling for mercy with the red red [noun] all streaming out of his [noun]' that's enough for meaning. Contrast that to the slang infused parts of Trainspotting which are damn near unreadable, even to someone me who has Scottish family, lived with a Scot for a long time and has lived in the Shetlands to boot. Much like writing in Leet Speek where abbreviations and acronyms and non-obvious references to cultural stuff is very common it becomes very hard to tell nouns and verbs apart. The Scots dialect sections do more than just using different words, it's making allusions to a different culture, often abbreviating mispronounced or heavily accented words into something different. It's practically a coded cant when written the way that Irvine Welsh did where everything is written accented.

    That's a trap to avoid no matter the dialect. You need to find the sweet spot that is authentically expressive without becoming obtuse or tiring. This is something that can happen easily just writing in English. Think about how groups of friends talk. They use expressions unique to them; a mix of their local slang and in jokes and the specific mix of culture they consumed. When I was about 19 my patois included lines from The Venture Brothers, mixed Scots and Irish stuff (from my Scottish and Irish housemates), our own vocabulary relating to drinking, drug use, chasing girls and parties and with constant cultural allusion drawn towards heavy metal and industrial music. That didn't make it impenetrable but it was unique to us in that place and time and most of it was just bullshit in-joke stuff done because it amused us at the time. Being authentic to everything would make for a slog of a read.

    The thing to remember is that it's the differences that people notice. A few judiciously chosen slang words will stand out a lot because they are different. We'll take notice. So don't labor the point. Don't throw slang around just because you want to show off how well researched your work is (or even to stick one up the English if you're Irvine Welsh), just drip feed it into conversation to tell us something about the character. Aside from anything else; no-one uses leet speak alone, even in the net.
     
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  18. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I prefer to standardize my narration rather than accent it. Same with dialogue. If a character has dialogue with an accent, the reader can just imagine it, it's better than getting in their way by conveying exactly what that accent sounds like; which is more tedious to write and more difficult to understand. Slang is different because it is an actual word they're saying. it changes the very dialogue to do it. Just don't go overboard.
     
  19. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    I agree with Wreybies. Record of use/meaning, and formality of lexicon, are not the same thing. There will always be informal language, sometimes parts of it will become legitimised but generally it won't stand up to the test of time.

    Pop culture rules on the street level, but not in formal circles.

    :read:

    (wrey, how many languages do you speak?)
     
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