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English Communication: Internet Slang

English Communication: Internet Slang

 Slang. You hear it on TV, on the street, in conversations with your friends and colleagues. It’s fun to know slang in order to better understand the communication around you.  It’s fun to use current popular phrases and words!

Beware though, in using slang.  Make sure you know what the words or phrases mean so that you are not making a faux pas or big mistake which is embarrassing to you.  My opinion is that it is better to NOT use slang than to use it wrongly.   It can cause too much embarrassment.  

shutterstock_134993387Also, some slang is more appropriate For instance, in the North American culture of the United States, an awful lot of people use the slang “suck”  as in “suck it up.”   That slang means to persevere even when an activity is distasteful.  An example: “I hate to work seven days a week from 5:30 am to 10 pm at night. Too much, too much.  But you do what you’ve got to do.  So I just suck it up.”  That is a proper use of the slang “suck it up.”   Usually, I don’t recommend that women use the phrase “suck it up.”  It is too coarse and not “lady like.”   In the North American culture of the United States, “suck it up” is used frequently by males in all kinds of circumstances… casual and formal.  It is a great phrase because it gets your attention.

You probably already use slang or colloquial expressions:

  • What’s happening?

  • How’s it going?

  • Way to go!

  • Arm candy (a good looking woman accompanying a guy)

  • Drop dead gorgeous (a very good looking person)

But you probably didn’t learn much slang  in your ESOL (English Spoken as an Other Language) or any other English  class.  Hey, not even Clear Talk Mastery teaches slang formally… yet!.

Now we have a whole new slang vocabulary, thanks to the magic of the internet.  That new slang has even spread beyond internet to everyday speech.

When people chat via text messages, they love acronyms.  What’s an acronym?  These are letters which stand for words.  You already know a bunch from the cinema and your reading.

  • FBI  for Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • CIA  Central Intelligence Agency

  • ASAP  As soon as possible

  • VIP Very Important Person

  • NSF National Science Foundation

Here are some of the most common internet-age acronyms, used mostly in texting and online chat. You’ve probably seen many of these:

  • BTW: ‘By the way.’ For example, ‘I just got home. Btw how did the interview go?’
  • LOL: ‘Laughing out loud.’ For example, ‘Did you see the video I posted?’ ‘Lol yeah it’s hilarious.’
  • JK: ‘Just kidding.’ For example, ‘I lost my wallet again… jk I just found it!’
  • TTYL: ‘Talk to you later.’ For example, ‘Ok ttyl, I’ve gotta go!’
  • FTW: ‘For the win.’ This phrase is used as a cheer or celebration and usually follows a thing or person.  For example, ‘He gave me a ride from the airport. Brian, ftw!’ Or: ‘I forgot the ticket but I looked it up on my email. Iphone, ftw!’

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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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