New world, new words 數碼時代的新詞匯

更新時間 2013年 4月 22日, 星期一 - 格林尼治標準時間10:39

Vocabulary: brand new words 詞匯: 全新詞匯

An emoticon

New words in the English language also include emoticons, like this one.

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.

Quiz 測驗

1. Who wanted the word 'photograph' replaced?

The English poet William Barnes.

2. What are the causes of controversy about English?

Foreign influence, informality, the use of abbreviation, technology and increasing speed of communication.

3. Is this statement true or false? OMG, LOL and FYI were never officially adopted as words in the English language.

False. These expressions were included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.

4. What are symbols like :-) and :-( called?

Emoticons.

5. Which word in the article means "more animated"?

Livelier.

Glossary 词汇表 (点击单词收听发音)

BBC © 2014 非本網站內容BBC概不負責

如欲取得最佳瀏覽效果,請使用最新的、使用串聯樣式表(CSS)的瀏覽器。雖然你可以使用目前的瀏覽器瀏覽網站,但是,你不能獲得最佳視覺享受。請考慮使用最新版本的瀏覽器軟件或在可能情況下讓你的瀏覽器可以使用串聯樣式表。