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Understanding Internet Slang – Surviving Online

Online Communication

First of all, let’s make it clear – internet slang exists in every language in the world that has an access to the Internet. Let it be Japanese Internet slang or Russian Acronyms – the language and its slang may be completely different. Even if you think you know the language, the writings you will have a chance to read online will make no sense to you. Why is that? Let’s find out.

Why Slang and Why Online?

To answer these two questions that evoke in our heads right after having read about this phenomenon, let’s apply to the beloved Wiki page and look what it says. Aside from such “wonders” of Internet language like lolspeak (in honor of lolcat) and leet (eleet or sometimes leetspeak), cyber-slang which includes abbreviations, acronyms and keyboard symbols takes a significant place in young people’s online interaction.

Where do they use it? According to Wikipedia, Internet slang has been already widespread in online video games, online communities, chat rooms and social network services in the early days of Internet. Moreover, the global usage of Internet has enabled broaden communication with other users from all over the world to lend their slang words and some interesting terms from other languages like kawaii, moe (Japanese for “super cute”) etc. have appeared.

The first impression of usage of slang words and expressions is – they do it to spare some space and time in writing. True? Well, partially, yes. The primary goal of such shortcuts was to ease the communication between Internet users. But this hypothesis will not explain the idea of several Internet slangs that may completely differ from each other. This is an outcome of determining memberships within one certain group. It is like a border line between groups of young people who want to be understood only among each other and accept no outlanders to their “world”.

Some scientists would also say that it is definitely a sort of protest against adults with their rules and laws. Youth creates their secret language for communication to have some privacy and separate themselves from their parents.

The Gems of Internet Slang for Everyone to Know

Precious Findings

Most of the Internet slang will be presented as acronyms but also abbreviations, internationally recognized words and expressions.

AMA: Ask Me Anything. No words to add.

Tsk tsk – it has a phonetical expression, as it is quite hard to show your emotions clearly online. If you want to show your disapproval of some situation, you keep uttering it until they finally notice it in every message.

DM – German students will recognize in this acronym a symbol of online shop “Drogerie Markt”. However, the acronym comes from Twitter social network and means “Direct Message”, which allows you to send messages to your friends via function of private messages.

P.S. This is a verb. E.g. “DM me when you’re done”

IRL – Online world exists, Internet is its king and queen and everything at once. But who do they call their opposition? This humdrum world of real life? Exactly, IRL “in real life”!

Have you already learned the word “LOL”? Meet its relative – Lulz! The meaning is almost the same with some minor differences as is basically of the “for the laughs” meaning or “to make everyone laugh”.

Caution! For those individuals, who have no idea what LOL means – please, read the section “Slang for Dummies”. Here also goes OMG and WTF. Seriously, they are pretty old enough so that you should have known them already.

Facepalm is short for “What an idiot.” If you find it difficult to remember, just imagine a picture of a man with his palm on his face, that has gone viral recently.

BRB – be right back. A very useful abbreviation to go away quickly and message a person about that. Just be sure they know what it means, otherwise don’t be surprised to get over 10 messages after you are back.

FTFY (Fixed That for You) – even though a phrase has a direct explicit meaning, the sarcastic one is used much more often and is widespread. If you express your opinion that someone finds incorrect, the “clever guy” will appear to “help you” with his own impression on that point and sarcastic “FTFY”.

IMHO literally means – In My Humble Opinion and is used to give your own point of view with a drop of uncertainty by adding “humble” to it.

Any Changes in the Future of Slang?


The slang phenomenon is connected to all aspects of everyday life. Politics, show business, culture and tradition, religion, social life etc. are the source for the development of Internet language and its changes the way we see it.

In a few years, the abbreviations considered today as a slang, will be perceived as a casual English as being spread and immersed in media and used as an official term. However, we should not think that words that are intentionally misspelled can ever become a part of a casual language. They need much more time for being recognized as standardized rules of language exist and will not give up their concepts so soon.

What we know now is certain – the Internet slang exists and it will only grow in volumes and diversity. Its denotation for the next few years is still unknown but we already see what a big role it plays in reading news and getting information. Another great contribution it makes is that it accelerates globalization as even people from the opposite corners of the world will be able to use Internet slang to find a way to communicate. Is it for worse or better? You decide.

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