Brave New Word | Emma McQuillan


A #language is a fluid. Constantly changing its shape and moulding itself to its #environment. Recent #technological #innovations have had a dramatic impact on our ways of #communicating and so our language has adapted to those changes.


The three #letter #acronyms used in #SMS (such as OMG & LOL) have become so popular that they now exist in the #spoken language in their own right. Although the more elaborate versions of this (ROTFL etc.) still tend to be used only in #computer based chat, as do the words which consist entirely of letters, the so called “leet” speak, where 1 = l, 3 = e, 7 = t. This allows the word “elite” to be written: 1337 and is used in this form in computer based chat.


Consequently the word “elite” has become more common in the #modern #spoken language than we may have otherwise expected. A big driver for the creation of completely new words has been the need to evade the detection of derogatory words in #online #forums. A new-comer or inexperienced person is referred to as a “#newbie” which has been changed to noob or sometimes with two zeros: n00b. Not having any existing counterpart this word has now entered the #spoken language, although of course by the time it’s in the #dictionary it’s already old hat.

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