Computer Jargon Essay

Computer Jargon

Language can often create problems - Computer Jargon Essay introduction. However it can also create understanding and provide solutions to problems. Humans use words in new ways to remove misunderstandings. Language can clear confusion. It also can generate new ideas. Language is the ability of humans to express reality. Language allows people to easily communicate with each other. Language contains a system of rules used to manipulate symbols. The advent of the information revolution has led to a new range of words added to computer discourse. A specialized language has been created for individuals and professionals. Experts used this specialized language for punctiliousness and briefness. The negative side of this specialized language is that the layman is unable to comprehend these words (Stockley, 2003).

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The computer holds a great deal of influence in people’s lives. People who are not fluent in this terminology are at a great disadvantage. People who are fluent have the advantage of enjoying a special status and complaining about the lack of knowledge. Information technology has changed the way we speak. New computer related words and slang have been created frequently. Buzzwords, jargon and acronyms help save time by transforming complicated words into short phrases (Stockley, 2003). Most people do not care how computers work, what XP stands for and how viruses destroy data. They have expectations that the computer will perform its tasks. The average user faces the problem of keeping the computer safe from malicious programs like viruses and Trojans (Stockley, 2003).

There are several techniques of creating new words in computer discourse. One of them is verb doubling. In this method a verb is doubled and an exclamation is added. To put an end to a conversation, or while discussing the current issues and to denote what a person wants to do next, a double word id is utilized.

Another method is that rhymes and puns are used to convert words into interesting phrases. For instance Boston Globe is used as Boston Glob. Horrid is used for Boston Herald.

Overgeneralization is another method when technical terms are applied to non computing contexts. They also employ overgeneralization at the grammatical level. Some words are transformed into nouns and verbs by adding wrong endings to them. For example mysterious is transformed into mysteriosity. Dubious becomes dubiousity. The suffix `-itude’ is used to remove a quality from any noun. For instance win becomes winnitude and lame becomes lameitude.

They are also of the view that nouns can be changed to verbs. For instance “I’ll dos it up”, “I’ll windows it up”. This is not grammar of poor quality. Distorting the language is considered an expression of grammatical creativity and a form of amusement. The purpose of distorting grammar has always been to amuse rather than impress people.

Another method to create new computer terms is to create a question from a word by attaching the syllable `P’. Words like “Foodp?” are examples. Other words and expressions are used like “Hungry!”, meaning “I am hungry!”. Anthromorphization of hardware and software is another method to generate new words in computer discourse. For instance computer programs are referred to as “having got confused”. Windows is not working properly because it has a “headache” (Stockley, 2003).

Overly generalizing the grammatical rules is a feature of a liking of form-versus-content language jokes. Quotes are used as balanced delimiters such as parentheses. One more inclination is to make out the difference in the British-style single quotes for reserve and making the American style double quotes taken from somewhere else for the real reports of speech or text. Another tendency by some programmers is for some things that are normally all-lowercase to remain un capitalized even when they occur at the beginning of sentences.

The computer professionals have also created a huge number of emphasis-based conventions on single-font all ASCII communication links by incorporating punctuations, which are vastly used in documents even when the normal use of these is provided. In order to show the emphasis these terms are placed inside the brackets. The sound effects appear as <bang>, <hic>, <ring> and a number of other examples

Many technical words are metaphorical. For instance World Wide Web is the master of all metaphors. Google for instance is derived from googol which was used to denote a large number.  Abbreviations, compressing words and collapsing them are other methods by which new computer vocabulary is generated (Stockley, 2003).

The use of the internet is growing in the world. Teachers, students, politicians, artists, etc are all using the internet. The rapid rise of the internet has seen the growth of new language terms, buzzwords and jargon. Technological vocabulary is being used intensely by every professional and common man. Common words like “online”, “network”, “downloading” are becoming more common and used frequently in the media. Television operators, talk show hosts and advertisements are increasingly using vocabulary for communication and transmitting their message (Gem, 2005).
New words are created by new derivations and compounds of existing English words. A large part of internet jargon comprises of abbreviations. FAQ, MUD, URL, etc are some of the most common words in use. BRB, LOL, IMHO are words which are used to describe friendly conversations. These words expedite the process of communication.

Prefixes are added to existing words. For instance the word Internet is derived from the word “net”.  Hypertext is another word which describes the WWW. The World Wide Web consists of many pages which are linked with each other and allow the user to move from page to another for information. Prefixes are added to words like the word “Hypertext,” which is derived from “text”. Proper names are also used widely in internet vocabulary. Internet search protocols are given the name of Archie, Jughead, and Veronica (Gem, 2005).

Proper nouns are also used for descriptions. A number of examples are present for this. Gabriel for instance is a proper noun used for stalling. Such name borrowing usually occurs due to actions of internet users.

Net jargon also frequently uses onomatopoeias to send actions when there is a lack of sound capabilities to send the sound. Examples of this kind of internet jargon include *sigh* or *moan.* (Gem, 2005).

Net jargon also is related to the science of semantics. Words from regular English have been borrowed and have been applied to new concepts and terminologies. For instance a gopher is not a rodent but it is software that allows the user to search for information from huge number of pages. A server is not related to waiters. It is a powerful machine which acts as a centralized database for file and printer sharing and efficient sharing of resources. Nicknames like handle are also used. A shell is a command line interface for an operating system that allows for communication (Gem, 2005).

Internet vocabulary also consists of functional shifts. A flame (noun) is used to show anger and unfriendly response towards another user. Flame as a verb is used to explain an unfriendly or opposed response. A Gopher is used during information as well as the verb “to Gopher”. It takes time to differentiate between these distinctions. Communicating in context is very essential with words and expressions.

Emoticons are used to represent emotions and intentions. Electronic communication methods allow the use of emoticons for feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, sarcasm and humor. Emoticons have become part of internet vocabulary. They are used to express feelings without the need to use one’s voice. All caps is considered as shouting in internet jargon (Djidonu, 2005).

Internet users learn new internet jargon by reading about it. This is an interesting aspect of internet jargon. Different people have different pronunciations. This has created controversy and difficulty. The word “ethernet” is an example of this controversy. Ethernet is a network protocol for high speed communication. Most networks are designed and connected through the ethernet protocol. Initially the word Ethernet was written with the capital “E”. As more people became aware of this concept the word was changed to ethernet with a small “e”. The two different pronunciations have created arguments, controversy and conflict amongst internet users (Djidonu, 2005).

The word ethernet is a compound word consisting of “ether” and “net”. It has been used to describe the Internet. The Internet is a global network which connects millions of machines and users. The common user cannot understand how this information is being conveyed amongst millions of machines.

The structure of the Internet is explained by using the word “ethernet,” to mean a network that exists as a cloud, with images of the cloud of networking information consisting of the ether. This means that they are occupying the upper regions of space. This is definitely incorrect and inaccurate. However it does help new users in accepting the structure of the internet and without asking questions (Djidonu, 2005).

American English has a deep impact on Net jargon. Many terms are borrowed from languages. An English language speaker can easily understand the terms like “ Internet “ or “Cyberspace” that one encounters while surfing the internet in writings purely written in Arabic or Spanish. The net users from Italy use the words “scollare” for scroll and “deletare” for delete that are not present in the English vocabulary. In this regard, abovementioned is an example to show how the internet jargon changes the words in vocabulary as well as grammatically. “To hack” has become conjugated in many European languages (Djidonu, 2005).

Internet and computer online services continue to become an important part of life in the United States and the world over. This has led to more people contributing, changing, and further developing computer jargon. People have found Net jargon being used in their normal lives outside the computer.

The rapid rise of the internet has helped people know that “viruses” are not germs spread from person to person but malicious programs that can destroy data. They know that “Spam” is not associated with “ham” but junk email; “toast” does not mean breakfast but being in a state of burned out; and “cookies” aren’t biscuits but tiny files which contain information about computers and are used by advertisers to track user information.

Letters are substituted for other letters that might be similar in sound. An example is the word “skillz”. English standard rules are conveniently ignored. Every letter might be capitalized. Some also reject conventional English Grammar rules. Mistakes might not be corrected. Typing errors are sometimes deliberately used. Letters may be formed from non-alphanumeric characters (Djidonu, 2005).

Computer networks and technology are rapidly changing our lifestyle and our language. This has resulted in computer jargon is changing very quickly. More specialty words are being used in our dictionaries. Computer jargon has become increasingly visible in our written and spoken communication. Everyone is expected to become familiar with the new words and usages. The evidence for this is the increasing use of the terms “networking” and “cyberspace.” Many commercial and private organizations are moving into the networks. This will result in computer jargon continuing to grow, change, and become a part of communication (Djidonu, 2005). A dynamic language of this level is a product of fast development of innovative ideas and concepts. This language development of the “Information Age” is interesting for linguists who wish to document it. It is similar to the language changes of the United States which helped to track the movements of our ancestors. The rise of computer jargon and the speed with which new words have been added to our daily lives is amazing. This process is expected to continue and evolve. Humanity’s history is filled with numerous examples of how languages have influenced history and daily life. The computer is a remarkable invention. The jargon which has been associated with it continues to change and becomes a part of a communication. New concepts, terminologies, buzzwords, acronyms are fast becoming a part of every individual’s life. It is facilitating the process of communication. Computer jargon is a part of every human’s life. Thousands of technical terms have been invented and are being invented every day. Software, internet, gadget, multimedia and hardware items are being named and used in every day life.


Djidonu, Clement K. (2005). The Computer Jargon Book (Computer Know-how for All). US: University Publishing Inc…

Gem, Collins (2005). Computer Jargon. US: Harpercollins Pub Ltd.

Stockley, Corinne (2003). Guide to Computer Jargon – Illustrated. US: edc publishing.


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