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Are You a 404 When It Comes To Slang

     
4:00 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Are You a 404 When It Comes To Slang [news.bbc.co.uk]
A study of new slang terms entering English finds that technology is driving and perpetuating them.

For instance, "404" - the error message given when a browser cannot find a webpage - has come to mean "clueless".

Slang lexicographer Jonathon Green says that some such terms and abbreviations come about because of the limited speed and space afforded by text messaging.

Of the more unlikely slang sources identified in the Post Office research is the Oyster system, a card-based payment scheme on the London Underground. The card readers show the number 35 if the card has run out of credit. As a result, "Code 35" has come to mean penniless.

Quite 'book', really. ;)

5:15 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Never come across either but then I do have auto top up enabled on my Oyster.
11:11 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"404"
back in the day we called them "0C4"
11:24 pm on Dec 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The "study" is unfortunately highly speculative:

A study conducted by the telecommunications arm of the Post Office has searched out the terms that are not yet in wide use but may be soon.

(Emphasis mine)

The emergence of new words is a fascinating subject, and the internet provides more (interoperable) data on words than has ever been available. Let's hope a few more in-depth studies become available :)

8:19 am on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I had a teacher who always said that a language is an evolving thing. That said, I can understand how these abominations could make texting easier but fail to see the usefulness of these terms when spoken. Imagine a conversation going: "I'm code thirty-five and I was completely four-zero-four." "It's book, one-four-three anyway."

I find "solutions" used for cramming more information in a text message absolutely horrible. MyFriendUsedToWriteAllHisTextMessagesLikeThisToSaveCharacters. This usually resulted in either 1)me calling him back to find out what he had to say or 2)me ignoring the message.
2:51 pm on Dec 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This looked a bit like a PR plant to me, but I couldn't tell from the BBC article what the angle was. A bit of Google searching came up with the fact that the Post Office are now trying to sell broadband services.

Expect all these terms to be completely made up by some PR person somewhere :)