Congratulations, you've found your way on to the Internet. More importantly, from the English learning point of view, you have ventured (verb=to enter) into the English speaking environment of the Net.
By now, you've noticed that people don't necessarily use the type of English that you learned in class! In fact, the Web is full of constantly changing colloquial (adjective=slang) expressions that are very difficult to understand. As always, the best thing to do is to face (verb=to confront) the problem. I hope to help you in this quest (noun=search) and will regularly write about slang in this space.
Immediate help is available in the form of many vocabulary lists on the Internet. These are often concerned with computer vocabulary. While vocabulary lists are good, they are still out of context (noun phrase=not in relationship to something). What would help is an article written with some of the slang included - and defined - in order for you to get the feel of (prep. verb=to get accustomed to) this new kind of vocabulary...
The Adventures of Delmon
Imagine you see Delmon the Avatar (noun=usually an image such as Marilyn Monroe, or a funny face that speaks using typed text) in a visual chat room. Delmon likes to talk a lot! (A lot of his fellow chatters might say too much) Here is what he says:
...So, I was out surfing the Web. You know, lurking in a MUD, reading my favorite ezines, and I met this grrrl in a chat room. We both blabbed away, talking about her homepage and how many hits it got. The next thing you know, this newbie logs on and starts to ask us questions like "What's the difference between a server and a provider?", "Do I have to pay for shareware?" and "Are you really there, or are you a bot?". It was OK for awhile as I am into Netiquette and all that. Luckily, he hit the road and we could continue our gab.
Anyway, we started talking about download times and bandwidth. She said she thought that things would never change, it just took so long for something to trickle through her modem. I told her that one of the frustrating things about the Net was when I got into VRML and it was such a bandwidth hog that I went to sleep just waiting for it to pop-up on my tube...
Excuse me? pardon me? Help Me!
I know, not easy. Well, let's take a look at the above to see what Delmon said in a more simplified form.
...So, I was out surfing the Web (spending time using the Internet). You know, lurking (being in an interactive environment without writing anything) in a MUD (Multi-user dungeon, where many people gather to play games, have discussions, study and so on) and , reading my favorite ezines (similar to a magazine an ezine is "published" on the Internet. One of my favorites is Hotwired, and I met this grrrl (a female user of the Internet) in a chat room (an at-the-moment area where you can speak with other Internet users ). We both blabbed (talked) away, talking about her homepage (a person's private page on the Internet) and how many hits (visits by other Web users) it got. The next thing you know, this newbie (someone new to the Internet)logs on (enter the chat area) and starts to ask us questions like "What's the difference between a server (the computer that provides the space for homepages and other Internet addresses) and a provider (the service that provides the connection from your home to the Internet)?", "Do I have to pay for shareware (software available on the Internet for download and free use for a limited time before buying)?" and "Are you really there, or are you a bot (a kind of software that performs a certain task on a Network)?". It was OK for awhile, as I am into Netiquette (being polite on the Net) and all that. Luckily, he hit the road (left) and we could continue our gab (discussion).
Anyway, we started talking about download times (the time it takes to get something from the Net onto your computer) and bandwidth (the amount of data a connection is able to transfer). She said she thought that things would never change. It just took so long for something to trickle (to flow slowly, usually used with water) through her modem (the hardware used to connect to the Net). I told her that one of the frustrating things about the Net was when I got into VRML (a three dimensional kind of Internet page) and it was such a bandwidth hog (a page or program that requires a lot of data to be downloaded before use) that I went to sleep just waiting for it to pop-up (appear) on my tube (computer monitor or screen)...
Well, I hope that explains things a little bit! As you have noticed, there is a whole new set of vocabulary to be learned when using the Internet.
To help you identify what is standard and what is slang here are the following tables:
|Bandwidith hog||noun=something that takes a long time to download|
|To blab||verb=to talk|
|Bot||noun=software program used for specific tasks|
|Grrrl||noun=female Internet user|
|To hit the road||verb=to leave|
|To lurk||verb=to observe an interactive space without contributing|
|Newbie||noun=someone new to the Internet|
|To pop-up||noun=to appear|
|To surf||verb=to use the Internet|
|Tube||noun=monitor or screen|
|Chat room||noun=an area on the Internet where people speak together in real-time (at that moment)|
|Download||verb=to transfer information from the Internet (or other network) onto your computer.|
|Homepage||noun=a person's personal Internet page|
|To log on||verb=to enter an area, such as a chat room, on the Internet|
|Modem||noun=hardware used to make a physical connection between a computer and a telephone line|
|MUD||noun=Multiple User Dungeon, a kind of chat room with different types of activities|
|Provider||noun=a company which gives you access to the Internet|
|Server||noun=a computer which contains data which can be accessed via the Internet|
|Shareware||noun=software often distributed on the Internet|
I hope this week's feature has been educating and fun. Oh, I almost forgot! Would you like to know what geek and nerd mean?
Well, they are both terms that describe someone who loves the technical side of any situation (obviously, the Internet is full of them!). They have become quite in demand these days as everyone needs someone to help out with the computer!