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English Communication: Internet Slang, part 2

English Communication: Internet Slang, part 2

Last time, I told you about common acronyms that are used on the internet and in text messages (like TTYL, meaning ‘talk to you later’).  These acronyms are all fun new inventions of the internet age.

shutterstock_157720049But the internet hasn’t just influenced the way we type– it has also changed how we speak. Internet age slang words have have made their way into most Americans’ mouths in recent years. You’ve probably used some of the following, common slang words:

  • To tweet: To write a post on Twitter. For example, ‘During the fire, people were tweeting updates on the size of the fire at different locations’

  • To google: ‘Google’ started off as just the name of the search engine, but is now also a verb meaning to search for something on Google. For example, ‘I don’t know the answer.’  ‘Why don’t you google it?’

  • To friend: ‘Friend’ was traditionally a noun, but can now be used as a verb with a new meaning –to add someone as a friend on Facebook. ‘I friended him on Facebook right after I met him.’

  • Selfie:  A picture that you take of yourself. For example, ‘There was no one to take my picture so I just took a selfie.’

  • To photobomb: To appear in a photograph that was not intended to have you in it. For example, ‘I would have gotten an awesome picture of Kate and Emma, but my brother photobombed it.’

Notice a pattern in some of these? English really likes to take words that start as nouns (tweet, google, friend) and turn them into verbs.  Once this happens, context is the key to knowing whether the verb meaning or the noun meaning is intended.  What’s next–to selfie? To youtube? Who knows!  In slang, no noun is safe from getting verbed.

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Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Contributing editor: Amber McKinney, MA

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