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New world, new words 数码时代的新词汇

[ 2013-05-07 13:51]     字号 [] [] []  
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Have you learnt a lot of English words? Well, many more are being created right now! Neologisms appear all the time, especially linked to new technology. This not only represents more work for you but also annoys some native speakers of English.

Every age has its purists. Tom Chatfield, author of "Netymology: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World ", says that in the 16th Century, many people frowned upon neologisms with foreign influences. The poet Richard Willies said that they were "smelling too much of the Latin".

In the 19th Century, the English poet William Barnes suggested that the word "photograph" should be replaced by "sun print" in order to achieve proper "Englishness". It didn't catch on.

Now the debate about speech and writing is livelier than ever, says Mr Chatfield. He thinks the Digital Revolution is as significant as the Industrial Revolution, and there are many inventions and processes which have to be named.

From text messages and email to chat rooms and video games, technology has over the past few decades brought about an extraordinary new arena of verbal exchange. The controversy is not so much about foreign influence but informality and abbreviation. The Oxford English Dictionary acknowledged in 2011 the use of initials such as "oh my God" (OMG), "laughs out loud" (LOL) and "for your information" (FYI).

We are moving away from spoken words and towards the act of typing on to a screen. We've already grown so used to saying phrases like dotcom out loud that we forget we are speaking punctuation marks. And punctuation took a life of its own with emoticons.

The speed of communication today is matched by the speed with which new words are taken up. Bicycles, automobiles and telephones took decades to become a part of daily life as words and objects. With online offerings, new words are adopted in a matter of months. The verb "to google" has become a part of dozens of languages across the world.

Where habit leads, language follows. Only time will tell what endures. Meanwhile, as a student of the English language, you've got a lot of catching up to do.

Glossary 词汇表

a neologism 一个新词或旧词新意

a native speaker 一个说母语的人

a purist 语言纯正癖者

to frown upon 对某事物表现出不满

Latin 拉丁语

proper 正式的、规矩的

to catch on 开始流行

a text message 一个短信

an email 一封电子邮件

a chat room 一个聊天室

a video game 一个电子游戏

informality 不拘礼节

abbreviation 缩写

OMG (Oh my God) “我的天”的英文缩写

LOL (Laughing out loud) “哈哈大笑”的英文缩写

FYI (For your information) “供参考”的英文缩写

dotcom 网站

a punctuation mark 一个标点符号

punctuation 标点

an emoticon 一个表情符

to catch up 追赶上


Historic and historical 两词区别




(来源:BBC英语教学 编辑:Julie)