A Glossary of Netspeak and Textspeak

A GLOSSARY OF NETSPEAK AND TEXTSPEAK. By David Crystal. Edinburgh University Press pound;6.99

For anyone who has suspected that surfing, texting and chatrooming are the new trainspotting, this lexipedia merely confirms their prejudices. But if you have ever stared at a computer manual or accessed an online help service, known it is written in English but been unable to understand its advice, this is a vital guide. It will be equally useful to the sort of people (like myself) who need to find their reading glasses before texting.

David Crystal's succinct guide, a cross between a lexicon and a baby encyclopedia, explains the burgeoning jargon of electronic communication with a simplicity no computer salesperson has ever achieved.

From it, I have finally grasped that T9 is simply "text on nine keys" and means the same as predictive text input, that a DECT phone is merely a cordless phone and that :-x is an emoticon meaning "sworn to secrecy".

There are some curious omissions, such as "underscore" and no mention that "hash" (as in NoNo) is a lazy contraction of "hatch". But it is good to know that to propose marriage, you need only text "wlumryme?" and that, in Italian, the @ symbol is called a snail.

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