I Can Has Language

This is an interesting presentation given at the University of Melbourne about the linguistic structure and validity of LOLspeak (i.e. “I can has cheezburger”). It’s about 20 minutes long, and is based on an academic paper, which probably seems kinda dull, but it makes some good points about how LOLspeak is community-driven, collaborative and creative (as language always is).

It gives an idea of how the media and memes of the internet have become more fully developed over the last few years, and how they are easily understood by savvy participants in internet culture. I thought it was definitely relevant to the topic of this blog, and kind of an interesting thing to watch if, you know, you’ve ever wondered about the LOLcat Bible…

(via The Daily What)


The origin of Robotics

via themoviedb.org

When words become commonplace enough, it’s easy to assume that they have always been used, or that they are some how intrinsically related to whatever they refer to, but in reality a lot of the terminology we use comes from literature. Case in point:

10 Words You Might Think Came from Science (But are Really from Science Fiction)

In addition to that set of words, according to the OED, the term “robot” was originally a “reference to the mass-produced workers in Karel Čapek’s play  R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots (1920) which are assembled from artificially synthesized organic material.”

After all, words don’t just appear out of thin air with a predefined meaning. Someone has to come up with them at some point.

Are there any words, expressions, or phrases that you’ve been surprised to discover come from a book, movie, play or poem? (And don’t worry, Shakespeare will get his own discussion.)

English 2.0

via xkcd.com

“I’ll Google it.”

“Did you YouTube that video?”

“She’s a blogger.”

I can only wonder what my great grandparents would have thought of those phrases. It’s basically gibberish, right?

Well, as with any other technology that makes an impact on daily life, Web 2.0 has changed a lot about the way we communicate, and I don’t just mean that in the sense that we now learn more about our friends and family via Facebook than through face-to-face conversation.

I mean that, quite literally, the words we use to express ourselves are different today than they were a few years ago. There are a few reasons for that. Perhaps the most significant is that the technology that we use on a day-to-day basis is different than the technology we used a few years ago. I’d venture to say that another reason is that language is a tremendously flexible tool. The English language seems particularly capable of stretching and bending to fit our needs.

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More important than the iPhone. Really.

Every single day of our lives we are living with the effects of an invention so significant that it’s importance and influence can’t really be overstated. We probably never even think about it, and we are probably incapable of ever truly fathoming what the world would be like had it never come to be. This is a piece of technology so revolutionary and so unbelievably vital that it’s impact on history can be felt in countless ways. Nope, I’m not talking about your iPhone. It’s even more important than that (hard to believe, I know).

(via Goodreads)

That’s right, I’m talking about the printing press. (Technology isn’t all about computers and the Internet, after all, and you just know those fifteenth century early adopters were all over this before it hit the mainstream.)

Now, please allow me to indulge in a bit of a history lesson to set the stage.

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