Internet slang

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Internet slang (Internet short-hand, leet, netspeak or chatspeak) is a type of slang that Internet users have popularized, and in many cases, have coined. Such terms often originate with the purpose of saving keystrokes. Many people use the same abbreviations in texting and instant messaging, and social networking websites. Acronyms, keyboard symbols and shortened words are often used as methods of abbreviation in Internet slang. New dialects of slang, such as leet or Lolspeak, develop as ingroup memes rather than time savers. In leet speak, letters may be replaced by characters of similar appearance. For example, leet is often written as l33t or 1337.

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Origins

Some of the terms and abbreviations used in internet slang appear to derive from fanspeak, the slang of science fiction fandom. A significant portion of computer programmers and users have historically been science fiction readers.

In 1975, Raphael Finkel of Stanford University compiled a collection of hacker slang, the Jargon File, from technical cultures, such as the MIT AI Lab, the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) and others, of the old ARPANET AI/LISP/PDP-10 communities. Two items on this list in current use as Internet slang are "flame" and "loser". By 1990, the Jargon File had been enriched with examples of shorthand used in talk mode between two terminals, (for example, "BTW", "FYI", and "THX") as well as some slang expressions in use on Usenet and new commercial networks like CompuServe (for example, "LOL", "ROTF", and "AFK".)[1]

A Computerworld article, discussing the origin of several current web slang terms, cites a still-online FidoNet article from 1989,[2] which displays emoticons in addition to all-caps shortcuts like "LOL", "BRB" and "TYT".[3]

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