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The 10 best words the internet has given English

The 10 best words the internet has given English
My book Netymology: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World is about the stories behind new words. I've been an etymology addict since I was a teenager, and especially love unpicking technological words. It's a great reminder of how messily human the stories behind even our sleekest creations are – not to mention delightful curiosities in their own right. 1. This word for our digital incarnations has a marvellously mystical origin, beginning with the Sanskrit term avatara, describing the descent of a god from the heavens into earthly form. Fusing notions of virtual world-building and incarnation, it's the perfect emblem of computers as a portal to a new species of experience. 2. In 1920s America, the # sign served as a shorthand for weight in pounds (and they still call it the pound sign). 3. Computing can be as much combat as collaboration between people and machines, and the Scunthorpe problem is a perfect example. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Related:  Change: lexical-semanticInternet

Texting is “miraculous”: 6 ways we are redefining communication John McWhorter asks us to think of texting less as “written language” and more as “fingered speech.” Photo: James Duncan Davidson Texting is not a blight on the English language, says linguist John McWhorter in today’s talk, given at TED2013. Rather, texting is a “miraculous thing”: a novel linguistic mode that’s redefining the way we communicate with each other — for the better. John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. If we think of texting as “fingered speech,” as McWhorter puts it, it also opens our eyes to texting’s distinct linguistic rules, structures and nuances. As the mediums through which we communicate quickly multiply, our modes of communication are following suit. Like “lol,” hashtags started out with a literal function: making topics easy to tag, and thus search for, on Twitter. John McWhorter was a part of TED’s worldwide talent search, giving a shorter version of his talk at the New York stop of the tour.

Viewpoint: Why do tech neologisms make people angry? The bewildering stream of new words to describe technology and its uses makes many people angry, but there's much to celebrate, writes Tom Chatfield. From agriculture to automobiles to autocorrect, new things have always required new words - and new words have always aroused strong feelings. In the 16th Century, neologisms "smelling too much of the Latin" - as the poet Richard Willes put it - were frowned upon by many. Willes's objects of contempt included portentous, antiques, despicable, obsequious, homicide, destructive and prodigious, all of which he labelled "ink-horn terms" - a word itself now vanished from common usage, meaning an inkwell made out of horn. Come the 19th Century, the English poet William Barnes was still fighting the "ink-horn" battle against such foreign barbarities as preface and photograph which, he suggested should be rechristened "foreword" and "sun print" in order to achieve proper Englishness. Only time will tell what endures.

Hitler, Psy, J. Karjalainen ja Harlem Shake – kaikki meemien orjia Mitä yhteistä on Hitlerillä bunkkerissaan, Gangnam Stylellä ja Harlem Shakella? Tuohan on helppo, toteaa kuvitteellinen lukija, ne ovat kaikki meemejä. Mutta hetkinen. Siis toistan kysymyksen – mitä ihmettä on meemiys, joka näitä muka yhdistää, jos se voi saada noin erilaiset ilmiasut? Richard Dawkins lanseerasi meemi-käsitteen vuonna 1976. Samaa tekee meemi. Ja jos ihan tarkkoja ollaan, meemiä ei ole olemassa muuten kuin kaikkien sen ilmenemismuotojen summana. Nettimeemien sisältöä ansiokkaasti dokumentoiva Know Your Meme haluaa jostain syystä määritellä asian niin, että meemi muuttaa muotoaan kiertäessään ihmiseltä toiselle, mutta muuttumattomina pysyvät asiat ovat "viraalisisältöä". Jos meemiä ei kopioida, se kuihtuu ja katoaa. Demonstroin. Nyt kun mielesi on sopivasti viritetty vastaanottavaiseksi, kokeillaan hyödyntää Väinö-meemiä ja mutatoida siitä uusi versio: Meemi, meemi, missä on se meemi? Avot!

Rebuilding the Web We Lost We have the obligation to never speak of our concerns without suggesting our solutions. I've been truly gratified to watch the response to The Web We Lost over the last few days; It's become one of the most popular things I've ever written and has inspired great responses. But the most important question we can ask is: How do we rebuild the positive aspects of the web we lost? There are a few starting points, building on conversations we've been having for years. Take responsibility and accept blame. Overall, there are lots of ways that the current generation of social sites are vulnerable. As is obvious from the responses I've gotten, many, many people care about a social web that honors certain human and creative values. These new companies will be recognizable in that they'll impact culture and media and government and society, and that they'll invent great new technologies.

Twitter shows language evolves in cities - tech - 17 November 2012 WHERE do new words come from? On Twitter at least, they often begin life in cities with large African American populations before spreading more widely, according to a study of the language used on the social network. Jacob Eisenstein at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and colleagues examined 30 million tweets sent from US locations between December 2009 and May 2011. Several new terms spread during this period, including "bruh", an alternative spelling of "bro" or "brother", which first arose in a few south-east cities before eventually hopping to parts of California. Residents of Cleveland, Ohio, were the first to use "ctfu", an abbreviation of "cracking the fuck up", usage that has since spread into Pennsylvania ( After collecting the data, the team built a mathematical model that captures the large-scale flow of new words between cities. New Scientist Not just a website! More From New Scientist Promoted Stories What is 64-Bit Mobile Computing?

Grexit, drachmail and eurogeddon - the new eurozone words As the eurozone crisis consumes billions of pounds and leaves people fearing for their jobs, it has given people one thing - a totally new vocabulary. MP David Miliband has already warned us of drachmageddon - the chaos which would be caused to us all by the return of the former Greek currency. That then leads us to drachmail - the term coined by our own Economics Editor Faisal Islam, which describes Greece's attempts to secure a better deal from its concerned Euro partners, anxious to save the world from a euro collapse. If the worst comes to the worst, we could have a Grexodus or Grexit which would see the departure of Greece from the euro currency. Italy is also feared to be the next troubled country to leave the single currency - which would make it Quitaly. And what if the entire single currency system collapses? The best Channel 4 News can muster today from its own ranks is "Cont-aegean" - but an you come up with any new terms to describe the euro-crisis?

Joko se syöte nyt on historiaa? Facebookin ja Twitterin uudistuksista en juurikaan jaksa kohkata. Ne tulevat ja niihin totutaan. Sen sijaan Googlen tämänhetkiset hankkeet tuottavat suoranaista muutoksen tuskaa. Kätevä iGoogle-sivu on jäämässä pois loppuvuodesta ja viime viikolla järkytyin huomatessani aikeet nitistää Google Reader. Perjantaina lukemassani artikkelissa Has Google Killed RSS arvellaan, että eräs syy tipauttaa Reader valikoimista olisi yksinkertaisesti olemattomat mainostulot. Entä kun Googlen vahva tuki RSS-syötteelle päättyy, lakkaavatko ihmiset käyttämästä sitä? Edellä mainitsemassani artikkelissa todetaan, että syötteitä ja syötteenlukijaa hyödyntävät ne, joilla ei ole varaa olla tekemättä niin. Mitä iGooglen ja Readerin tilalle? Olen hakenut pitkään korvaajaa tai korvaavaa ratkaisua iGooglelle, joka on ollut tiedonhakuni perussivu. Missään nimessä en pidä syötettä aikansa eläneenä.

The Internet as we know it is dying It was a week of rage, nostalgia and despair on the Internet. Sure, you could say that about any week on the Internet. But last week delivered some prime material. All is not well on the Web. At Twitch TV, the gamers are worried that Google’s “copyright monster” will tame their freewheeling Wild West and obliterate years of work. It’s a big mess. That’s easier said than done. If you’re not an avid gamer, the kind of person who enjoys watching other gamers narrate their own adventures through the latest first-person shooter, you’ve probably never heard of Twitch TV. But for the gamers who produce much of the content, the idea that Google’s copyright cop, ContentID, might suddenly be patrolling their world is a nightmare. From a copyright holder’s point of view, bringing a new sheriff into town probably seems entirely just and proper. Happily, the MetaFilter community is stepping up with donations that may ensure the continued future of MetaFilter. But that’s not entirely fair.

'Hobbitses' and Frankenstein: how pop culture's words become official | Kory Stamper | Comment is free Water cooler conversation at a dictionary company tends towards the odd. A while ago I was chatting with one of my colleagues about our respective defining batches. "I'm not sure," he said, "what to do about the plural of 'hobbit'. There are some citations for 'hobbitses', but I think they may be facetious uses. I did: "We enter 'hobbit' into the dictionary?" Pop culture is a goldmine of neologisms, and science fiction and fantasy is one rich seam that has been contributing to English for hundreds of years. Don't be surprised. Which brings us to the familiar and more modern era of sci-fi and fantasy, ones filled with tricorders, lightsabers, dark lords in fiery mountain fortresses, and space cowboys. All fields have their own vocabulary and, as often happens, that vocabulary is often isolated to that field. In some cases, the people who gave us the word aren't keen to see it taken outside of its intended world and used with an extended meaning.

Omnishambles beats Eurogeddon, Gif and Mobot as Oxford word of the year Games-makers doing the Mobot were not enough to beat omnishambles for the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters With the BBC embroiled in a crisis of its own making and the British government showing itself to be gaffe-prone, it is perhaps appropriate that Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year is omnishambles. Oxford University Press has crowned the word its top term of 2012, defining it as "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations". Each year the publisher tracks how the English language is changing and chooses a word that best reflects the mood of the year. The publisher typically chooses separate British and American winners. Coined by writers of the satirical television show The Thick of It, omnishambles has been applied to everything from government PR blunders to the crisis-ridden preparations for the London Olympics. The final shortlisted term is an old word given new life.

Appsi, täpätä, warettaa – kaikki tuttuja sanoja? Oppe nyt wanha ia noori / joilla ombi Sydhen toori.Jumalan keskyt / ia mielen / iotca taidhat Somen kielen.Laki / se Sielun Hirmutta /mutt Cristus sen taas lodhutta.Lue sijs hyue lapsi teste / Alcu oppi ilman este.Nijte muista Elemes aina / nin Jesus sinun Armons laina. Tuon lähes 500 vuotta vanhan Mikael Agricolan tekstin ymmärtää, kun vähän näkee vaivaa. Onhan se kuitenkin suomea. Paljon vaikeampaa meille monille on pysyä mukana, kun äidinkielemme englannistuu kovaa vauhtia. Eikä ilmiö ole tietenkään uusi. - Suomen kielen sanavarat ovat jokseenkin kaikki tulleet aikojen kuluessa kielikontaktien tuloksena meille, vahvistaa professori Tiina Onikki-Rantajääskö Helsingin yliopiston Suomen kielen laitokselta. Onikki-Rantajääskön mukaan globaali maailma ilmenee siinä, että vauhti on kiihtynyt. Tietotekniikan alalla on meneillään melkoinen vyörytys Kotimaisten kielten keskus Kotus on listannut viime vuodelta joukon ajankohtaisia sanoja, jotka kertovat kielenkäytön muuttumisesta.

How We Lost the Web When I wrote about the web we lost a few months ago, I thought the idea that we'd strayed from some of the philosophical and cultural underpinnings of the social web's early days would be of note to a few old-timers like me, and that most folks would sort of shrug their shoulders at this obscure concern. Instead, that piece and the conversation that have followed have gotten more of a response than almost anything else I've written. As a result, I found myself, astonishingly, asked to speak at Harvard's Berkman Center earlier this week about the topic. If you have an hour to spend on the topic and don't mind the sound of my voice for that long, you can actually watch the entire talk, complete with my slides shown inline, here: The Berkman page for the talk also offers downloadable formats for the talk, including a 41MB MP3 if you're the type who listens to podcasts. Some key links if you'd like to further explore the themes in the talk:

How emoji became the first truly global language | Technology | The Observer Emoji: growing in complexity all the time. I sent one this morning. My pal texted to say that she was in that most invidious of contemporary social tangles: someone was offering her a Kate Bush spare but she had already committed herself elsewhere. Me, I was busy thinking about emoji. I didn't have time to deal with someone else's heartache or their moral scruples vis-a-vis ditching an apparently iron-clad prior engagement. Obviously, I could have replied simply: "AAAARGH!!!". But my timid scrunch-face puts me so behind the curve that I might as well start training carrier pigeons. Want to make yourself feel slightly nauseous and utterly baffled? All of which brings us a very long way from the end of the last millennium, when Japanese teenagers started using emoji on their pagers (the word itself consists of e-, picture, mo-, writing, ji, character). Beyoncé (feat.