Internet Neologizms As Youth Slang Supplementation: The Main Ways Of Formation

Abstract

The subject of the research is the Internet slang as the thematic dominant of youth lexicon. The study was carried on the material of the network neologisms which are considered to be the main way of youth slang supplementation. The authors found out the basic models of their formation. The theory is corroborated by examples from the Internet slang of German-speaking users. Young people of a separate, more or less closed reference group use slang to hide the meaning of what is said from the people around them. Youth slang is a “password” for all members of the reference group. Young people start to use words and phrases differently from the standard rules of speech to look trendy and “cool”. They use elements of diverse vocabulary, foreign words, and professionalisms and they create neologisms to refer to new devices, processes and phenomena. The appearance of new Internet resources, the Internet posts and technologies cause the formation of a large number of neologisms. At the same time the Internet is a special environment for creation of neologisms which are not only computer terminology, associated with the Internet, but also slang form of language, formed in the process of Internet communication. Neologisms designed to name new devices, processes and participants of these processes in the Internet, successfully operating in this environment and used for communication in the “World Wide Web” are called “network neologisms”. The most productive ways to form them are abbreviation, word reduction, blending, word stemming and suffixation.

Keywords: Abbreviationblendingneologismreductionsuffixationthe Internet youth slang

Introduction

It is well-known that a language, just like a mirror, reflects all the spheres of man’s life: either politics, economics or technical progress. The society develops and the young people of a separate, more or less closed reference group, for example, an institution, a quarter or the Internet use slang as a way to hide the meaning of what is said from the people around them. Youth slang is a “password” for all members of the reference group (Zenina, 2013).

The usage of these words contributes to the separation and self-detaching of the members of this social group from the others and unites them in a kind of their own group. In other words, young people aim to use nonstandard verbal expression (intergroup conformism). On the other hand, they adopt specific expressive words and phrases from the speech partners of the same age group in order to fit in (intragroup conformism).

Young people start to use words and phrases different from the standard rules of speech to look modern and “cool”. They use elements of diverse vocabulary, foreign words, and professionalisms and to refer to new devices, processes and phenomena they create neologisms.

German linguist Herberg (2004) regards a word as a neologism when 1) its form and content or 2) only content are considered new by most of the native speakers during some period of time. In this work we adhere to this definition.

But the concept of neologism is relative because a word is considered to be a neologism as long as people regard it as new. A neologism may be totally absorbed by the language with the course of time whereupon it becomes a generally used word. According to some neology researchers (I.G. Olshansky, A.E. Guseva), “the word is regarded as new in a period from 1 to 5 years from its first usage” (as cited in Polehina, 2012, p. 181).

Consequently, dealing with new words speakers take into account only the time of their emergence in a language. And the consideration words as neologisms is based on their special stylistic features connected to comprehension of these words as unusual ones.

Problem Statement

Nowadays the “World Wide Web” or the Internet is one of the main sources for emergence of new words. Neologisms constantly appear in this sphere. Rapid development of Internet supplements the language with new terminology and adds new meanings to the existing ones. A great number of neologisms appear due to emergence of new kinds of Internet resources, Internet positions and technologies which did not exist previously. The Internet creates a special area of origin for neologisms which represent not only the Internet-connected computer terminology but also slang language forms that are used in the process of Internet communication. At the moment this language phenomenon is understudied and needs detailed research.

Research Questions

In order to fulfil a detailed research, the following tasks should be completed:

  • to give the definition of internet neologisms;

  • to conduct structural analysis of neologisms;

  • to study special aspects of Internet neologisms functioning in different Internet communities.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to distinguish the main models of the internet neologisms genesis.

Research Methods

Academic literature analysis, continuous sampling, structural and functional analysis methods have been used to reach the purpose of the study.

Findings

Basic models of neologism formation in contemporary German

Nowadays “The Worldwide Web” or the Internet is one of the key sources of new words. Emergence of neologisms here is a stable phenomenon. This field, while developing rapidly, replenishes the language with the new expressions and adds new meanings to existing words.

The creation of new, not previously existing types of the Internet resources, the Internet posts and technologies cause the creation of a large number of neologisms. At the same time the Internet is a special environment for creation of neologisms which are not only computer terminology associated with the Internet, but also slang form of language, formed in the process of communication of Internet users. Communication has become more obtainable and cheaper, there are a lot of new technologies for quick information exchange: e-mail, chat and blog services, forums, messengers, social networks, guestbooks, teleconferences.

In addition, long-distance communication does not require additional time and money to establish a contact, so it becomes more intense, massive, popular.

If necessary or desired, one can easily hide his presence in the service, or use other tricks to make the exchange of information convenient and stress-free.

All of this removes a psychological barrier preventing offline relationships, creates conditions for creativity and self-expression thus causing emergence of neologisms.

Neologisms designed to name new devices, processes and participants of these processes in the Internet, successfully operating in this environment and used for communication in the “World Wide Web” will be called “network neologisms”.

We’ll consider the basic models of neologism formation in the language of contemporary the German youth below.

Abbreviation

Young people actively use abbreviations in their speech. It deals not only with the trend of the linguistic means economy, but also the desire not to be understood.

E-Zine - an abbreviation for elektronisches Magazin, stands for an online magazine. We mean the magazine, which is published only online, so it is also called Web-Zine (Web magazine), Onlinemag (Online magazine). The online magazine is different from the online versions of newspapers and magazines, because it does not have a print publication and is often a specialized Internet magazine, which is devoted to some specific topic (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

E-Diot – an abbreviation for elektronischer Idiot. It refers to the Internet and computer novice unaware of all the peculiarities of the "global network". Since "E-Diot" is pronounced in English manner this abbreviation is mainly used in written communication among young people in the Internet (thefreedictionary.com).

E-Sport – an abbreviation for elektronisher Sport. ‘E’ which we have already used in words E-Mail and E-Diot, always denotes elektronischer. In this case it is not about real physical efforts but virtual ones, as online-gamers run, jump, fight as well. The one who has not got to the Bundesliga can participate in online Championship. Official tournaments are often held in online competitions. In some countries, for example in China, they are considered as real sport (e-sport.club/).

Word reduction

The characteristic of the Internet language is word reduction. All the types of word reduction are considered to be contractions. The contractions have a number of advantages over full names. They are shorter and more convenient for combining with other stems in a unite complex word system. Therefore, we find a lot of them in youth lexicon.

Admina / Admin – comes from Administrator. Young people call the webpage and service administrators Admin. This may involve a female administrator as well. Admina has emerged in order to keep up with the times and to prevent sexual discrimination (de.wikipedia.org/wiki).

Kommi – a popular abbreviation for German Kommentar or English comment. It is a usual online action. Every user can comment videos, photos or links posted by others. There is a constant comment exchange in social networks (Deutsch-Englisch-Wörterbuch, n.d.).

Blending

Another way of neologism formation is contamination or blending. One part of a word blends with the part of another word or with another word in order to create a new one. Young people like words which are not likely to be found in dictionaries. One can understand such words by presence of two original words.

Vlog – is an abbreviated form of «der Videoblog». The blog is some kind of online diary with the function of commenting. Unlike the strictly protected secret diaries of the teenagers of past, online blogs are available to other Web users. If an online diary contains video clips made by its owner, it automatically becomes a video blog (Vlog). Music bands use such video diaries to tell fans about their touring life (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Tweeple – twitters, people who use the system of miniblogs Twitter for communication (from the English words tweet and people). German word for this notion is «twittern» from the English to twitter that means to chirp. Twitter is the newest form of a social network but it has already gained popularity among users. After registration and creation of the personal account on the online platform of Twitter it is possible to send messages up to 140 signs by SMS or e-mail. Following Twitter, it is possible to be always aware of news, thoughts and activities of others. Originally designed for private use, now Twitter is more often used for marketing of firms and organizations (urbandictionary.com).

Blogser is a blend formed from words Blog and Leser (a reader). It means a reader of blogs. Media journalist Peter Turi wondered how one could call the "silent" majority or people who read blogs, but neither comment nor write posts themselves. In the process of word-making, he came up with such ideas as «Blogsument» – blending of words Blog and «Konsument» – the consumer, «Blurker» consisting of the Blog and the English «lurker» – observer, and finally «Blogser» (http://blog-anleitung.de/g-a-blogger.html). Meanwhile this neologism made its way after publishers of the online version of the newspaper «Bild» used it in a quiz for bloggers.

Screenager is a blend of the English words a screen and a teenager. The generation of teenagers who find only what’s going on the screen interesting becomes younger.

Modern teenagers spend most of their time in front of a television, a computer or a tablet and thus form a group of so-called screenagers. Parents criticize this isolation from the outside world and do not understand why the new soccer game on Xbox is more interesting than real football on the grass.

Scriptkiddie (script + kiddie) – in hackers’ culture it is a humiliating way to address an individual who uses scripts or programs developed by others to attack computer systems and networks without knowing how they work. It is thought that scriptkiddies are amateurs who lack the ability to write their own exploits or elaborated hacking programs and that they only try to impress their friends or gain credit in computer-enthusiast communities (ru.wikipedia.org/wiki).

Twitteratur – is a blend of the words Twitter and Literature. More and more writers are discovering the possibilities of using microblogs to amuse their fans with small funny stories. Thus, to denote short poetic or prose texts in the Internet, the word twitteratur was created (Kreuzmair & Kreuzmair, n.d.).

Netizen – is a blend of the words Net (Internet) and citizen (German: Bürger, Bewohner – a citizen). Netizens are «inhabitants of the World Wide Web» Their life mostly takes place online. The Internet for them is a community with its rules and regulations which they have to obey being its part (Kreuzmair & Kreuzmair, n.d.).

Netlife – is a word which is formed from words Net (Internet) and life (German: Leben – life), and is used to denote a parallel virtual life in the network (netlife.de).

Word-stemming

Another large group of neologisms consists of words that appeared as a result of word stemming – these are words with a clear word-building structure, consisting of components already used in another combination in other derivational configurations.

If consider the corpuses of examples, the first thing which draws attention is the fact that almost all neologisms are based on Anglicisms.

Cyberstalking – online stalking (from English to stalk ). The fact that we constantly leave tracks in the Internet (consciously and unconsciously) opens new ways for "typical" stalkers. The extant of stalking ranges from the comparatively innocuous tracking a person via online-profiles to annoyances and threats. Internet-attack begins when electronic communication options are used to exert psychological pressure on the victim or cause some other harm. It includes spreading rumors and intimate photos on Internet pages, forums and by e-mail. Cyberstalking can deal with identity theft (Identitatsdiеbstahl), for example, after victim’s logon in an Internet-shop (gegenstalking.de).

Der Waitstate comes from English words to wait and state . While the cursor shows that the computer is more or less properly working on downloading a document, installing a program or a computer game, a person, sitting in front of the screen, is in the position of a passive waiter what can hardly be called pleasant. We can find ourselves in a state of waiting not only in front of a computer screen, but also in the doctor’s waiting room, and in the queue in a supermarket and waiting for a phone call from a person whom we like (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Blogroll – is a blog list. The word is formed from English words blog and roll , Bloggers willingly unite in groups in the Internet for better navigation and to find each other in the blogosphere easily. A good tool for this is the blog list ( Blogroll ) - a list of links with recommendations for bloggers, usually located for a better overview, on the side of the blogger’s personal page. Criteria for selecting links to be put in this list are personal preferences, interests, contacts (gruenderszene.de).

Blogosphäre – blogosphere, a compound word consisting of Blog and Atmosphere . The world of bloggers is diverse and boundless. Here you can find the most unexpected texts and topics, from political commentary to personal confessions about difficult life of teenagers. Bloggers are spread across the globe; they are interconnected by the World Wide Web and their number is constantly increasing. So, the set of all blogs is called the blogosphere-a network of personal platforms for posting different kinds of messages in the Internet (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Silversurfer – a compound word consisting of silver and surfen (to surf the Internet). The Germans call these elderly Internet users Neorentner – modern pensioners. Many elderly people are open for all sweets of life including technical novelties. This targeted group (elderly people with purchasing power who actively use the Internet) was discovered by Internet marketing experts in the late 90s (www.proz.com/kudoz).

Browserspiel ( Browser – Internet viewport and Spiel – game ) – free online game. The German enterprises pay about 50 billion Euros a year for the Internet used by their employees for personal purposes. It’s difficult to say how accurate this figure is, but undoubtedly, free online games are a favorite office workers’ pastime during working hours.

Die sociale Networkseite (consisting of English words social , network German word Seite page ) – a social network profile. People, who would probably have never met in a real life, meet in the network. Social networks contribute to this situation. Millions of people use such social nets as MySpace and Facebook to stay in contact with friends and business partners, take part in online discussions or share information. The popularity of such online platforms is confirmed by figures: only in Germany, half of all people under thirty communicate in social networks, every tenth of them actively uses four or more online platforms (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Suffixation

One more productive way of neologism formation is suffixation or prefixion. The German youth slang enriched oneself with a lot of verbs denoting different operations in the World Wide Web by addition of a suffix -en to an Anglicism-stem.

Fraggen is formed from the English abbreviation frag . A full word fragmentation grenade a hand-grenade has been known since the Vietnamese war. In gamers’ slang « to frag » means « to kill someone virtually ». The word gradually expanded its meaning. Firstly, online rivals in a game were called frags , then a point for their defeat was called a frag , and now achievement of a new status in a game is called a frag (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/).

Surfen – to surf the Internet (potomy.ru/things).

Adden comes from the English word to add . When a person surfs social networks much, he gets a big number of virtual acquaintances. He often doesn’t make friends but «adds contacts». Addition means the process of attachment of profiles in a contact list. Besides, it is possible «to add links, photos and statuses» (de.wiktionary.org/wiki).

Frienden and entfrienden/defrienden – to make friends, to add to a friend list, to delete from a friend list (from the English friend ). Surely, addition of new contacts and deletion of old friends from a friend list can’t be compared to a long process of classical friendship development. In the era of network economy, the Internet acquaintances are spontaneous and do not imply emotionally strong relations. Friendship in real life can break up too, but in an anonymous network it occurs much easier. The ent- and de- prefixes mean distance and separation of online friends which can be received by several clicks of a computer mouse without any explanations and arguments (en.bab.la/dictionary/german-english).

Facebooken – to facebook (from the English Facebook ). He, who makes Facebook friends, changes the status, joins the groups, and adds a photo, facebookens. This word means all actions which can be carried out in the most popular social network in the world (verbformen.de).

Skypen – to skype, it means to communicate in Skype. The Internet telephony is a salvation for all emigrants, people studying abroad or having guest marriages. Skype, the software which allows users to communicate free of charge online, is the leader in this area. Over time the word « Skype » became a synonym of the concept «Internet Telephony». Unlike usual telephony it is possible to make video calls with the help of a webcam (duden.de/rechtschreibung).

Conclusion

Network language has evolved from a fashion tend to a new style of communication and writing on websites, blogs and chat rooms. The proportion of neologisms in the youth slang is large enough, the proportion of neologisms- internationalisms – is huge. The most productive ways to create them are abbreviation, word reduction, blending, word stemming and suffixation. The majority of youth slang neologisms are based on Anglicisms.

Modern Internet resources, blogs, chats, forums, video hosting around the world are intent on youth audience, therefore the slang prevails there. "Network" neologisms of youth slang make the language peculiar. But words originally used by young Internet users gradually come in general use. More and more adults use them in daily communication. Quite often a part of slang words and expressions forces out common-language version and also often coexists with it.

References

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20 April 2020

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Discourse analysis, translation, linguistics, interpretation, cognition, cognitive psychology

Cite this article as:

Pasechnaya, L. A., & Shcherbina, V. E. (2020). Internet Neologizms As Youth Slang Supplementation: The Main Ways Of Formation. In & A. Pavlova (Ed.), Philological Readings, vol 83. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 535-542). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.04.02.61