Linguistic Features of Netspeak: Abbreviations, Acronyms and Punctuation Marks

  • Mohanned Jassim Dahkil Al-Ghizzy
Keywords: language of the internet, speech vs writing, netspeak, chatgroups, abbreviations, acronyms, punctuation marks.


      The study in this paper  is a quantitative descriptive linguistic study of an informal online  English in netspeak. This study concentrates on one situation of netspeak which is "chatgroups" in  their both synchronous and asynchronous situations. It focuses on three linguistic features which are (abbreviations, acronyms and punctuation marks). Abbreviations and acronyms are dealt with morphologically as word-formation processes and semantically as vocabularies by giving their meanings, whereas punctuation marks are dealt with syntactically as appropriate to sentence order.

The models which are adopted in the analyses of the data of this study are eclectic. First, Crystal (2001: 81-93) highlights the linguistic features of Netspeak which are:(lexicon, neologisms, blending, abbreviations, acronyms and punctuation marks). He gives a description of seven situations of Netspeak which are: (e-mails, chatgroups, virtual worlds (MUD and MOO), the web, blogging and instant messaging). He (2001:239) mentions that the studies of Netspeak are still in the earliest stages and it is difficult to find samples of data which relate to various situations on the net in which people communicate. Second, Werry (1996) sheds light on the features of one situation of Netspeak which is Internet Relay Chat in terms of addressitivity, abbreviation, prosody and gesture. Third, Baron (2008) mentions in her experimental study on her students many features of one situation of Netspeak which is instant messaging in terms of: "emoticons, lexical shortening like abbreviations, acronyms, contractions and punctuation". Fourth, Quirk et al. (1985: 1580- 84) classify abbreviations into clippings, acronyms and bends, and describe punctuation marks, will be another model adopted in this study (ibid: 1611- 633).