The Changing Nature of Language —Thanks, Internet!!!

The Changing Nature of Language —Thanks, Internet!!!

The internet has led an unprecedented assault on the English language. Every day, new slang is tossed around on places like Twitter, Reddit, and the anarchic Comments SectionTM as if they were spoonfuls of mashed potatoes being hurled in a school cafeteria. It’s left the language purists—the Wordilatti, if you will—with a never-ending urge to reply in frustration with “Hey, that’s not a word!” and “You can’t just make up new words.”

Welp, word police, I’ve got some bad news for you: LITCHERALLY all words are made up. Every. Single. One. Those three words? Made up. This question? Entirely fabricated. It’s not necessarily something we (especially as creatives) need to be afraid of. You see, now that the internet has leveled the playing field, who’s to say what isn’t a word? As long as the audience can understand what is meant by the semi-random assortment of symbols, so what? Right? There’s no need to fear this new lingo, because if the internet is truly waging an assault on traditional language, it’s more like the proletariat storming the Bastille in the hopes of creating a more egalitarian society. So, without further ado, here’s a look at some words that have been dredged up from online.

Let’s start with the basics

Viral: It’s a marketing strategy that encourages people to share a message. A viral message can be funny, intentionally infuriating, and/or low budget. A successful internet viral campaign gets the targeted audience forwarding the message to their followers, giving the originator immense reach.

“Oh, don’t you worry, boss. I’m going to come up with a whole new viral campaign that will just knock your socks off.”

Meme: An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—usually with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning

Memes are best shown, not told—check out the most searched memes of 2017.

Meme lord: This person claims to have or make the dankest (best) memes. Is “lord” a bit dramatic? You betcha—welcome to the internet. Whatever turns the most heads is inherently good!

Memes with vaporwave aesthetics are usual favorites of meme lords.

Now let’s get more niche

Dox: When someone’s personal information is leaked onto the internet by a hacker—anything from address and phone number to place of work and social security numbers.

“Some @sshole doxxed me the other day by putting my credit info and work address on an online forum—now my credit card’s been charged $300 and someone mailed a potato to my office.”

Ghost (v.): To avoid someone until they get the picture and stop contacting you.

“He’s a nice guy, but I’m not interested, so I’m just going to ghost him until he gets the idea.”

Troll: Someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

Can you spot which person is the troll in the scenario below?

Setting: A New Nicki Minaj YouTube Single Comments Section

Milkshake duck: Someone who gains sudden fame for something positive, but too soon after is revealed as a deeply flawed character with a shady past, often involving corrosive social or political ideologies, which quickly tarnishes their fame and the good will people momentarily had toward them.

Famous milkshake ducks include Kenneth Bone and Keaton Jones.

Just for fun

Shook: Shocked or surprised; can’t believe what you’re seeing.

“I was shook by a nasty insect in my house.”

Shooketh: Beyond shook.

“I am SHOOKETH! The cashier at the Chipotle has begun to recognize my order—I can never go back…”

Wigless (adj.): When you’re left SO shooketh that your airs are dropped and your weave is snatched.

“The news that he was leaving the company left me absolutely wigless.”

Lewk: Any outfit you put a special amount of attention into constructing, potentially for an event or special occasion, usually with some sort of theme or reference you’re attempting to invoke.

“Rihanna’s outfit is giving me life. Would you look at that lewk!”

Spill the tea: When one tells an especially juicy bit of gossip.

“I was left positively wigless by the tea that Stephanie Clifford was spilling.”

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list and there’s a great chance that by the time you read this, some of the words here may no longer even be relevant. It just goes to show how quickly internet culture moves. But now it’s your turn! Sound off about your favorite new word(s) in the comments section below and don’t forget to smash that “Like” button. ✌

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