This paper deals with computerization as a source of lexical, syntactic-stylistic, and phonetic changes in Modern English language. It focuses on hacker’s jargon having its construction, stylistic peculiarities, and phonetic features as the target.
The scientific novelty of the paper lies in the attempt to systemize lexical, syntactic-stylistic, and phonetic changes, which are introduced by hacker culture to Modern English; to find out and describe particular features of hacker jargon; to analyse the correlation between basic hacker subcultures. A few hackers tried to analyze the language they use; the problem of hacker’s jargon is still a moot point.
The theoretical value of the research lies in the fact that it is one of the first attempts to investigate the changes introduced to Modern English with the appearance of computers. We hope that the obtained data will make a contribution to the linguistic studies, especially to the pragmatic aspects of linguistics.
The practical value of the work is in the opportunity to apply the data to the process of teaching English at university: to teach conversational English at practical English classes, at lectures on English Lexicology or Stylistics.
The objective of the paper is to reveal and describe a set of lexicological, stylistic, and phonetic features of hacker jargon.
In accordance with the objective the following tasks are set:
1) to define the status of hacker jargon as a linguistic and sociocultural phenomenon;
2) to single out and analyze the most significant ways of forming hacker jargon;
3) to analyze the style hackers use in written and oral speech;
4) to provide pronunciation keys to the jargon.
The investigation was carried out on the material of Internet. 25 sites in total introducing the peculiarities of hacker jargon were analyzed through the use of diachronic, synchronic, descriptive approaches, through some elements of distributional, substitution, and oppositional methods of linguistic analysis and with some elements of conceptual, linguostylistic, and sociocultural analyses included.
The structure of the work is done in accordance with the general conceptual framework adopted. Part I of the paper dwells upon neologisms as a linguistic phenomenon, stylistic differentiation of Modern English vocabulary, the difference between slang, jargon, and techspeak, and hacker culture as a loosely networked collection of subcultures. Part II presents tentative applications of basic approaches to hacker jargon analysis in terms of linguistics, semantics, stylistics, and phonetics. Conclusions contain the description of the major results of the research.
1.1. Neologisms as a Linguistic Phenomenon
No living language remains stable; its vocabulary is constantly growing and changing. Some words drop out of the vocabulary of a language with changes in the social system, with the growth and development of culture and technology.
The object of our interest and investigation is neologisms. Many linguists have researched this phenomenon.
«Neologisms is a linguistic term which refers to any newly coined word, word combination, a new meaning for an existing word, or a word borrowed from another language, the novelty of which is still felt»
(Arnold : 217)
Lexicographers consider neologisms words that appeared in the language not later a certain time. Some researchers put this boundary to be after the end of World War II (Миклашевская : 12); some linguists think that neologisms are words invented after 1957 – the year of the first satellite aprobation and of space. (Заботкина В.И. : 16)
New lexical units may be coined through « vocabulary extension and semantic extension.
Vocabulary extension is the appearance of new lexical items which usually appear as the result of
• productive (patterned) ways of word-formation;
• non-productive (non-patterned) ways of word-formation;
• borrowing from other languages.
Semantic extension is the appearance of new lexical meanings of existing words.
(Ginsburg : 184)
1.1.1. Vocabulary Extension
Neologisms are usually coined out of elements, which already exist in Modern English. Deliberate coinage is mostly the product of one’s creativity, ingenuity, and imitation. One should distinguish between patterned and non-patterned ways of word-formation.
The most widely used patterned means are:
• affixation (suffixation and prefixation);
Neologisms coined by these means are made up of elements already available in the language. The novelty of them lies in the particular combination of these elements.
The affixes that are thought to be the most productive are: -ness, -er, mini-, over-:
e.g.: a roomer, well-to-do-ness, thingness, oneness etc.
The most productive patterns of forming new nouns are: