Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome to teh dictionary

A few days back the National Post reported on the addition of meh to the Collins English Dictionary with an article that featured some odd notes on other words from teh internets, notably teh. The tone of the article is mostly "if meh can do it, why not all these other patently silly innovations", but what struck my eye were the items selected and the descriptions thereof.

On teh
Or, there's always the purposely misspelled words, such as "teh," a variation of "the," which is seen frequently on sites like Cute Overload and has the impressive ability to become a gerund, as in: "This is teh suck".
At least the author noticed that teh is purposefully mispelled (at least some of the times). As I noted in my undergraduate thesis (seriously) teh seems to be an indicator not only of definiteness, but of some superlative, unique, or ideal status. Teh suck means something like "sucking as much as possible" (and doesn't include a gerund in any sense I'm familiar with). I'm not sure why Cute Overload was mentioned, but hat tip to them as they brought my attention to the article. This usage seems to be more closely related with online gamers or Anon in my mind.

(EDIT: It appears the gerund comment originates in the Wikipedia entry for teh. In teh suck, teh is part of a nominalized verb phrase, which are normally formed with the present participle and called gerunds. Whether you want to call teh suck a gerund phrase I'll leave up to you, but the article without the head most definitely isn't a gerund in and of itself.)

One odd characterization was the way netspeak uses repeated characters.
there's the intentionally superfluous use of the letter Y to convey a sing-songy form of excitement, as in: "Heyyy! Can't wait to partyyyy!"
Is this really limited to y in anyone else's online idiolect? Surely at least everyone who allows yyyyy... allows other vowels, but I know I've even seen this applied to final consonants.

And one more requisite (possible) misattribution:
And of course, thanks to Perez Hilton, we also have the expression, "Loves it" instead of "Love it."
Didn't this expression originate in teen girl speak? I hesitate to guess, as I'm sure I was a latecomer to the expression. This has to at least predate the Perez Hilton site because I know I've heard Paris Hilton say it on television and I strongly doubt she'd have borrowed it from Perez.

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