1. Introduction

    1. Introduction and aims

Ever since the rise of the internet in the mid '90s, amateurs and linguists alike have been reporting about a so-called 'internet language'1, marked by its innovative abbreviations, emoticons and the indifference towards or ignoring of normal spelling and syntax rules, often with the aim to make it resemble spoken language, especially in chatboxes and on bulletin boards2. Although English is by far the most used language in internet communication by native and non-native speakers of English alike, it would be a far shot to claim that only English has this 'internet variant'. Other languages have internet offshoots just as vigorously thriving, sometimes even marking regional differences (e.g. in Dutch internet language), although it should be noted that they also underwent a significant influence from English.

The central arguments of this essay are threefold:

  1. 'Internet English' is far from homogenous. It is not a distinct variant of English, although some claim it to be so. However, there is a substantial difference in lexis, from time to time, towards the known written and spoken English standards. Words and expressions are used on the internet that cannot be found in books, newspapers, magazines or everyday spoken language, let alone formal instruction.

  2. This will be proven by identifying and discussing a few specific lexical items in this so-called 'internet English', the context in which they are used, why they are used and who tends to use them.

  3. Finally, the usege of these lexical items will be linked to the data obtained from three message boards and more specifically, nine different users.

    1. Data gathering

Because the internet is a vast domain, with a plethora of communication channels available, we have opted to gather data from (only) three internet forums. Message boards, and the data therein, are easier to retrieve than chat boxes, and offer people the choice to either type fast and play loose with grammar and spelling or to type, following the normal spelling and grammar rules. In chatboxes, the speed of the medium forces users to write shorter sentences, and errors, both intended and non-intended, will sneak in much faster. Newsgroups that work via e-mail, on the other hand, are more formal and are inclined to bring out more formal writing. Message boards are, therefore, the ideal compromise between a chatbox and an e-mail newsgroup.

Three message boards were chosen for data gathering:

  1. Societas Via Romana3 (herafter abbreviated as SVR): an international community, founded in June 2001, focusing on Antiquity. Ancient history, culture, language and philosophy are discussed on their forum. Their message board4 had about 150 members at the time of writing. It had members of all ages.

  2. Satan Stole My Teddybear5 (hereafter abbreviated as SSMT): an alternative music review site, with a forum6 where next to alternative music, most of the time politics are discussed. At the time of writing, this forum had about 370 members. It also had members of all ages, though mostly people younger than thirty.

  3. Mortal Kombat Online7 (hereafter abbreviated as MKO): a site about the fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat centering mainly around news and media, with a large message board8. It was founded in 1998. Exact numbers at the time of writing were unknown, but on March 18, the number of users was about 13 6009. The largest part of the users was younger than twenty.

These three message boards were not chosen randomly. Not only is it useful to make a comparison in this essay between small and large message boards, but also how their topics determine what kind of users will be there. Also, specifically these forums were chosen because their structures showed enough parallels to make a useful comparison (more on that in the next part). Because we can not just go about and select whatever data is available to us – even narrowed down to three message boards, there is still an astronomical amount of data available – I have opted to select three users per forum and analyse their use of language more specifically to later pit them against each other. Because data on these users' real names is either unavailable or unreliable, they will simply be called by their nicknames. Although there is a large degree of uncertainty as to the reliability of information people give about themselves on the internet, we have decided to regard their submitted information as true. All users selected are users with a number of visits of posts that is at least higher than 75 and postings long enough that could unmask lies. But the reader should always take into account this degree of uncertainty.

  1. For Societas Via Romana, these users are: MariPere'10 (US) , Romulus Aurelius Orcus11 (Belgium) and Ti. Coruncanius12 (US).

  2. For Satan Stole My Teddybear, these users are: rogthefrog13 (US), Øystein H-O14 (Norway) and Ded Mitya15 (Russia).

  3. For Mortal Kombat Online, these users are: Hyuga16 (US), outworld22217 (US) and WRDLFE2118 (US).

We've tried to select three individuals that were different enough each time, and would represent the spectrum of people visiting the board. This does not make for a perfect research but the scope of this essay is too limited to allow for a greater variation and complexity of research subjects.

The data itself was gathered between April 9, 2004 and April 11, 2004 and was still extant when last checked, on (April 15, 2004).

    1. Structure of message boards

As noted before, the three selected message boards each have a similar structure19; this makes for a better cross-comparison between the three. In two of them, it is possible for users to have a so-called avatar, an image, usually of a face of a person (usually not of themselves) in the top-left corner that represents them. In all three there is the title of the posting, the body of the posting itself and then a signature, which can either be a piece of text or an image. Under the avatar, the number of posts, visits and/or a special ranking is also represented. This depends on the forum. As such, this already creates a very interactive environment which allows people to create their own frame of identity. For the sake of practicality, however, signatures, avatars and topic titles will not be quoted when a user is quoted and will not be mentioned, unless there is a special occasion to. The quoting of a posting will look like this:


kb:v2 is supposed to be 1/2 hr loner than the first one. v1 is awesome. i can't wait to see what happens when she confronts her daughter. from teh trailer, the fights look cool21

  1. Lexical tensions

    1. Introduction to internet lexis

So, what counts as internet lexis? Actually, all words used on the internet. But since this essay zooms in on internet-specific lexis, it narrows down to words that are specifically used on the internet. Here a difference needs to be made between occasional misspellings and intended creation of new words. For example, because people type fast, the word 'the' has often been misspelled as 'teh' but this is usually unintentional. Then, there are words which actually existed before the internet existed, but have been made big by the internet, such as 'smiley'. Alternative spelling for words like 'you', 'for' and 'to' ('u', '4' and '2') also existed before the internet was used. And although the word 'emoticon' is a word typically associated with chatboxes, message boards and internet culture, the word is rarely used on the internet itself.

What we'd like to focus on here, are six words, five of which are entirely new words or alternatives to existing words without being deformed variants of them, and one that shows that there is a definite evolution in internet lexis. One of them is an acronym and one of them is a suffix that can also be an adjective. These form the best examples of internet-specific lexis.

    1. Lexical focus

The six words that will be focused on here are 'ownage', 'woot', 'lol', '1337', 'noob' and 'über-'. For each, a meaning, origin and additional information will be provided.

      1. ownage22

The verb 'to own', from which the noun 'ownage' is derived, has been given an added meaning on the internet through online first-person-shooter or FPS-games. The term is used when one player kills or defeats another player in a very decisive, convincing manner. That player, literally, 'owns' the other player because he is better than him or her. From this narrow meaning, new meanings evolved when the word began to be used on the internet to denote persons or things that were better than another. A fight or a duel was not necessary in this comparison. One could say, for example 'Ferrari owns Porsche', meaning that you think a Ferrari is a much better car than a Porsche. The word 'ownage' is the derived noun of this verb and is used to comment on a situation where one thing or person decisively wins against another. This counts both for persons and inanimate objects.

Because of their similarity, the <o> is frequently replaced by <0> and although this is sometimes a random process, it also plays a role in the internet community. Hackers and people interested in computers and the internet per se, especially young people, often do this to differentiate themselves from other subcultures. In turn, because using the <0> adds a 'geekier' dimension to the word, it is also often used ironically. The replacement of the <o> by <p> is a different story. Because in FPS-games, everything moves very quickly, people often do not have the time to type correctly and due to the proximity of the <p> on most American and European keyboards, the <o> is often replaced by <p>. This spelling error has become so common that 'pwnage' can be used as a variant of 'ownage', although the word cannot be pronounced when it is spelled this way.

      1. woot23

<woot> is considered as an exclamation, and in the forums researched, is never used as a verb or a noun. It appears to be an onomatopaeic imitation of the sound of a horn or a trumpet. It appears to refer especially to the sound of horns or trumpets in cartoons. It is used to catch attention but it is most commonly used to express a crazy sort of enthusiasm, being roughly equivalent to the exclamation "woohoo!"24.

      1. lol

This is probably one of the best known 'words' that belong to the internet lexis, probably just a little less known than ''. 'Lol' is actually an acronym that stands for 'laughing out loud' and was born in chatboxes and bulletin boards in the early and mid-'90s. It is also one of the oldest surviving acronyms from that era25. Although it was originally nothing more, the usage of the acronym now no longer necessarily denotes the person using it really laughing out loud. It is just used as a quick term to label something as funny. However, 'lol' is very flexible in a sense that it is often deformed to inform the reader of how funny the writer thinks something or someone really is. For example, 'LOL' in caps usually indicates a larger degree of pleasure than 'lol' does. Also used are variations like <lololololololol> to indicate either real laughing or sarcasm. Interesting in this sense is that 'lol' loses its function as an acronym and is really regarded as an expression rather than an acronym. Lately, it has also been emerging as a spoken word. The rise of this word might be compared to 'ok' from the fourties of the 20th century and onwards.

      1. 133726

<1337> "is a cipher, or simply a novelty form of English spelling. It is characterized by the use of non-alphabet characters to stand for letters bearing a superficial resemblance, and by a number of quasi-standard spelling changes such as the substitution of <z> for final <s> and <x> for <ck>.27" It actually means 'elite', where the first letter has been dropped and the characters replaced by numbers. In fact, in hardcore online gaming or computering communities of youths, writing as such is even labelled 'L33T SP3AK' or 'leetspeak' (meaning "elite speak") and consist of obscure acronyms, replacing many characters by numbers and writing randomly in uppercase or lowercase. However, "some hackers do not use l33tspeak due to its association with Internet users whom they dislike.28" Another interesting facet of this form of writing is "capitalizing every other letter (JuSt LiKe ThIs), sometimes called studlycaps. A similar habit involves capitalizing every letter except for vowels (JuST LiKe THiS).29"

"The most probable explanation of its origin is from bulletin board systems in the 1980s and early 1990s where having 'elite' status on a BBS allowed a user access to file areas, games, and special chat rooms, often including archives of pirated software, pornography, and text files of dubious quality documenting topics such as how to construct explosives and manufacture illegal drugs. It may also have developed to defeat text filters created by BBS sysops for message boards to discourage the discussion of forbidden topics (such as cracking30).31" On regular message boards however, no one ever uses it seriously anymore and the word has gotten an ironic connotation, meaning something different than 'elite'. If people on the internet write "I'm 1337", many will automatically assume it's a joke meant to ironise oneself or a joke at the expense of the 'geeks'32. <1337> has also emerged in the form of tags in schools and on the streets.

      1. noob33

One of the typical '90s words on the internet that have lost ground is the noun 'newbie'. A 'newbie' is quite literally, as the name suggests, a newcomer in a chatbox or an online community. Almost anyone appears to agree that 'noob' is derived from 'newbie' and has steadily been gaining ground over this older term. Some users use it to designate all newcomers, but there is definitely a more pejorative connotation attached to the word 'noob' and therefore some make a distinction between newbies and noobs. In short, a 'noob', is an unmannered newcomer, often characterised by very poor spelling, making topics or comments that lead to so-called 'flaming'34 or else being completely unintelligible and 'flooding'35 the message board or chatbox with unwanted messages or 'spam'36. The alternative spelling, <n00b>, could be used to designate a user as even more unwanted, giving them a geek label37.

      1. über-38

Keyboards differ from country to country. For some users the <ü> is not an obvious character; they do not know how to form it, or they forget it because it does not exist in their language. Hence the alternative form <uber-> of this suffix.

Essentially, 'über-' has come to replace prefixes like 'mega-' or 'hyper-' to indicate a superior form of something. For example, one can say "that building is very large" but also "that building is überlarge", or simply "that building is über", where 'über' replaces the whole adjective (or in other sentences, the adverb). In some cases, 'über' can be used in the same meaning as 'to own'. Saying "my shotgun owns" or "my shotgun is über" is essentially the same. Why and when this prefix has come into use remains unknown, but the use of it, like the use of words like 'lol', is also trickling into other internet languages, such as internet Dutch.

      1. data and conclusion

So, what do these words tell us? If they are really as vastly spread and understood as is argued and are indeed specific to an internet-context, this would rather point towards the existence of an 'internet English' than not. However, if there truly is an 'internet English', and we are talking about relatively common words, one might assume that they will be more or less equally spread throughout message boards.

Below, a table is drawn that contains approximate data of usage of these six aforementioned words (and their possible variants)39 on the three message boards researched. In the left column under each message board name, the number of times the word was found is written40, and the right column contains a figure that expresses the number of times the expression was attested divided by the total number of postings on the given message board. Rather than raw numbers, this statistic gives a clearer idea about the usage of the word. For example, 'ownage' appears more on MKO than it does on SSMT but the number of times the word appears per posting is significantly higher on SSMT (0,0118% versus 0,0342%). A figure of 100% would theoretically mean that the word appears as much as there have been postings made on the forum in question41.

Societas Via Romana

Satan Stole My Teddybear

Mortal Kombat Online











































total posts




It should be noted that the figure for the word 'noob' on MKO is slightly distorted due to the confusion with the video game character Noob Saibot. Also, while the number for 'ownage' is very low, numbers for 'to own' were much higher but excluded because of the confusion with the classic meaning of 'to own'.

We can clearly see that in four out of six cases, MKO has the largest ratio of expressions. SVR only peaks with '1337' but this figure should be taken with a grain of salt since both on SVR and SSMT, the expression appears only four times. As such, this is more of a one-off or an isolated case than it is really a trend. Especially remarkable is the use of 'lol', which appears approximately 11 000 times, no less, on MKO. Clearly, there is an unequal distribution of this 'internet lexis' across internet forums. Critics may remark here that this still does not mean that 'internet English' does not exist. The word 'cookbook', for example, will be used more often in a cooking club than it will be in a reading club, but this does not mean that the members of these clubs speak different variants of English or, rather, not the same variant.

This, however, is not the central argument here. We are not attempting to demonstrate the existence of separate 'internet Englishes' that each have their own lexis and distinct features but rather trying to prove that there is, in fact, no such thing as a general 'internet English'. The fact that there is some internet-specific lexis does not pose great problems for this theory. Anarchists, for example, do not believe in authority or hierarchy but that does not make them totally opposed to any form of structure. Similarily, the existence of specific terms or new meanings of lexical items on the internet only does not build an entirely new variant of English. Added to that, it has been clearly demonstrated that there is not always consensus on the use of some words (such as 'noob'). But another important aspect that further weakens the possibility of an internet English, is irony, dealt with in the next part.

    1. Irony: contextual tensions

As touched upon a few times before in this essay when the six selected words were discussed, internet lexis is not as straightforward as one might assume and has numerous layers of complexity, where spelling and usage of a word are not at all random. For example:


heh, yeah. playing mk isn't even fun when you have morons running(ruining) the game. mk to me is just pretty much a "fun" fighter anymore. i actually am turning into a "WHATZ YER FAV FAT4LITY?!" type of person. i'm keeping my main focus on street fighter now and don't even miss mk. which is sad because i used to love it so much. sometimes i try to beat myself up TO love it again but i doubt it'll ever happen43.

Although his spelling and syntax is far from correct, he imitates the 'L33T SP34K' to portray himself ironically as a geek or a noob. So actually, users are aware of the normal modes of speech and writing but sometimes break them on purpose to aim for a certain effect. The irony is a blade that cuts both ways: while it is used to ridicule the so-called noobs or geeks, to an outsider it's probably equally unintelligible and geeky.

In fact, on all three forums researched, the contexts in which the word '1337' (or variants thereof) was used, were ironic. This might be different on other forums that deal with topics that lie more within the interest sphere of hackers, but then again the majority of message board users aren not hackers and if the majority of message users begins to use expressions like '1337' in an ironic manner, we might conclude that this ironic behaviour towards so-called internet English is a first sign that this type of English only really exists in the heads of other people, or a select group of people who use it. In fact, constantly using acronyms or the so-called 'leet speak' can count not only on ridicule, but also on hostility:


There were people on the boards who typed entirely in "h4x0r-5p34k" or whatever the fuck. It was extremely retarded TO THE MAX.45

Ecce Panis46

Anyone who ever used that shit seriously was (is) probably retarded.47

Still, critics could remark it's not because some, or a majority of users are appearently hostile towards only some expressions, that 'internet English' does not exist. After all, the users of message boards appear to write within the same idiom and precisely the ironic usage of it shows an advanced language level. Secondly, while one may argue that 'internet English' is not spoken and can not be recognised as a special variant of English, critics could fire this argument back and say that many sign languages, in fact, are recognised as languages by most linguists although not a word is spoken. I will argue that this is not the case for two reasons:

  1. Although there is internet-specific lexis known by many internet users, the fact that some of it, such as the infamous '1337' is only used to ridicule other people, means as much as the imitation of another accent of English to ridicule people. Example: a New Yorker will probably understand most of the Deep South accent in America. The fact that he may be able to imitate it, if only to make fun of Texans, does not make the New Yorker share the same language variant of the Texan. As such, on the internet there are as many variants of English as there are in the 'real' world. There are many types of 'internet Englishes'

  2. If the argument is true that specific language that is written only but not pronounced (or cannot be pronounced, in the case of expressions like 'pwnage'), should be recognised as language, then it still needs rules for syntax, grammar, spelling and lexis. The next part will deal with this issue, and demonstrate that this is far from true, and will form the crux of our argument.

    1. Individuals: individual tensions

This part will not only further demonstrate, through the difference in use of lexis and language, that there clearly is between the three message boards of choice, the individually observed message board users will be used to demonstrate that there is no internet English.

      1. Societas Via Romana

The first user we are analysing here in terms of language use is MariPere'. According to information elicited from and about him he is an ex-sergeant and computer expert from the US military nearing his forties, based in Texas. Here are a few of his posts.


Salvete omnes...48

The usurpation of Christianity by the fundamentalists continues to this day...or perhaps has 'merely' begun anew. There has always been this intolerant streak about the faith, this urge on the part of its missionaries to walk up to perfectly well-functioning cultures and say, 'All your Gods are demons and you're going to hell.' I do not know why this thing is, but it is, and it is the major reason why I no longer go to church.

I would like to find out more about Valentinian and other early (pre-Fundie)-Christian practice and belief. My own practice has been of a similarly tolerant strain, that of Pelagius of Britain, but even there materials are hard to come by--not to mention mostly written in condemnation by the Catholic Church which declared us heretics. My understanding of it allows me to pay my respects to the little gods and numina
49 I encounter every day. Should this turn out not to be so, I may well jump the fence entirely; my original faith just has too much baggage attached to it to be worth carrying otherwise.

In fides,


[Marius does not know if the listeners at the Symposium are allowed to ask questions or make comments. But surely a stray thought will bother no one and hinder no thing. He spares one, then, for the little dogs in his lap...

[The most noticeable thing about them, to himself as to his friends, is that there are only two of them. The old Greyhound died in November; and just this last month the Cattle Dog mix got lost far enough away that the chances of his seeing her again are, at best, remote.

[He thinks about the hazards she faces, the distance she must come. He knows it's been done; he also knows that such returns are rare enough to be newsworthy. More likely is that she has been taken in by some kind soul...or that she lies, mangled, by some roadside.

[He is still reeling from the blows. He has lost half his pack in a mere 60 days. All he has left, in his whole little world, are the Terrier and toy Spaniel on his lap.

[He cannot vouch for their suitability for agriculture or anything else. He only knows that, if he himself is ever to return to full productivity, or even mere functionality, he will not be able to do it without their assistance...or the kindness of his two-legged friends.]

In magna tristia,


Salvete omnes...


Do forgive the holler (the Forum still stands, I can't have been that frustrated), but...my cynico.net e-addy stopped working in mid-February, and I have only just discovered the fact.

My Web site, the Roman Outpost, has also been hosted on cynico.net, entirely satisfactorily until a couple of weeks ago; it, too, is decaying around the edges, and I shall have to move it elsewhere very soon (any ideas...?).

I'm not sure what the cause is. Has my gracious host run out of room on the server? Has cynico.net itself gone out of business? Or have I simply neglected things too long?

I wrote my gracious host a few days ago to inquire what I should do with the Outpost; but if he tried to reply to my cynico.net address, I'd have lost that too.

The upshot of it is: If anyone has wired me at


after 11 February and is still awaiting a reply, your e-gram probably got eaten by the Beast. I haven't seen it. Please send or re-send to


until I figure out something more suitable for long-term use. I'll notify the Societas what that is when I get it.

All who wire me regularly, please update your address books accordingly.

With apologies for any frustrations caused or headaches given,

The first thing we notice about his use of language is, that for a computer expert, MariPere' uses a rather 'normal' and intelligible mode of writing, not 'L33T 5P3AK". His vocabulary appears to have a great richness ("e-gram" instead of the noun "e-mail", "to wire" instead of "to (e-)mail" or, "e-addy" instead of "e-mail account"). Although often some rules are disobeyed, generally this is purposely done to express something else, e.g. the long holler of frustration in his third posting, his feelings (indicated between square brackets). With regards to internet lexis, he never uses any of the six terms described in 2.2, except 'lol' (two times).

The second user from the SVR message board we will observe now is Romulus Aurelius Orcus. Information about him stated that he is currently a 21 year old, former student of arts in Ghent (it was unclear what he was doing at the time of writing). He got flunked in several years of his secondary education.

Romulus Aurelius Orcus:

I'm just trowing my voice into this discussion but from what i know is what was said
here before. Roman wome gradually saw their status changing in a good way but from what i know, this right was a privilige only the patrician and rich women gained.

Others probably didn't have this. I think i read this in a book soemwhere about the every day life in ancient rome.

I will look for it tomorrow when i go to the library.

But i stay with what i said. This change was only for rich women.

Valete optime in pace deorum

Sokarus52 Aurelius Orcus53

Romulus Aurelius Orcus:

I don't know if this post really belongs here but did anyone saw Le Belphegor, a french movie about a mummy who comes to haunt le Louvre at night in search of his name and a way to go back to the underworld. They call it the french answer to the Mummy but to be honest, i find le Belphegor ten times better than the mummy for several reasons:

1) the mummy in question is not going to unleash the end of times. It was one thing i found contradicting throughout the mummy that an Egyptian mummy who was a high priest of the Egyptian pagan religion would bring about the end of times and the seven plagues of Egypte. But than again that is hollywood for you.

2)throughout the movie you get the impression that it is Belphegor who causing the trouble, but it isn't him. Okay, now i said to much and spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet. The concept is different from any other movie, especially American movies who deal with the same concept. You can compare it with the movie Talos the Mummy.
I highly recomend this movie to anyone.


Romulus Aurelius Orcus:

hmm torture, beating, abuse, violence, my type of movie. :)

I'm pretty sure that some sequences will be cut like they did with the movie Event Horizon where they cut more than 15 minutes of scenes because it was too violent.

If they start to speak the actual languages of those days in movies, we might be seeing a change in Hollywood where they will not make movies anymore about antiquity where everyone speaks English? Nay, aint goin to happen.

On another note, did anyone saw the miniseries Helene of troy? I heard that there were biblical references in it, but i didn't really notice it. 55

Orcus' English contains various mistakes: capitalisation of 'I' is often forgotten, and both his spelling, grammar and idiom56 show signs of Hollywood influence ("ain't goin to happen") and dutchisms ("a mummy who", "Egypte" or "but i stay with what i said). The reader does not get the impression however that, unlike MariPere', he ignores the rules to create a new style of speech or to convey his feelings and thoughts more accurately. Rather the opposite: his English mistakes and absence of a clear structure in his postings, makes him less intelligble. He also rarely uses the six expressions and words described in 2.2. A couple of times 'lol' but never the other five.

The third user I will discuss here is Ti. Coruncanius. He is a freelance consultant for a medical literature publication company in Minneapolis and is well versed in both ancient history and ancient languages. He is in his forties or even his early fifties.

Ti. Coruncanius:

Salvete Draco et omnes!

There is a very tenuous link between Minoan Crete and Egypt in the form of tomb paintings from Pharaohs and officials of the New Kingdom era. These paintings show the various peoples bringing tribute to the Egyptian court. Some are recognizable as peoples of a particular culture for example, the Ethiopians and the Libyans. Others appear less discernable and leave only the name for us to translate. The unrecognizable people in question here are ones bearing the name Keftiu.

There has been quite a bit of speculation as to who the Keftiu actually were. Frequently, the civilization of Minoan Crete enters the list of potential names. This certainly could be the case, however there is not much to directly support the assumption. Certainly, the timelines match up. New Kingdom Egypt begins about 1540 BC and ends about 1070 while the native Minoan civilization seems to be at its high point about the time 1600-1500. The Cretans and Egyptians must have known of each other by this time. Cretan wares occasionally show up in Egypt but never in large amounts. On Crete, Egyptian statuary was found on one occasion. Actual evidence of interaction remains minimal.

This leads to questions about the level of Egyptian interest in Crete and the Aegean as a whole. In the New Kingdom of Egypt, Egyptian civilization had access to everything the Bronze Age had to offer of material value. The Egyptians controlled or forced the Ethiopian and the Kushite territories in Africa, areas rich with metals and ivory to give them tribute. The Egyptians crossed the Sinai and conquered the territories of the Levant exacting tributes of cedar, metal and slaves. There was almost nothing within the reach of the Egyptian empire of the New Kingdom. Crete, while civilized, held little of interest to the Egyptians. There is no evidence of Egyptian dominance over the island. If the Egyptians knew of the Cretans, exchanged with them on some form, but apparently imposed little of their culture on them and never subjugated them. This makes the “tribute” brought by the Keftiu as depicted in tombs appear to refer to peoples dwelling elsewhere. Ultimately, the Minoans held little of interest to the Egyptians who in the New Kingdom, came to see their interests in the northeast and the south of their territories. It is in these regions that the Keftiu probably lived.

Thus, the Keftiu are still ambiguous. They might be Cretan however nothing specifically says they are. Cretan art is somewhat abstract when compared with Egyptian but the Keftiu don’t appear as the Cretans depict themselves. Crete appears to be a sort of distant backwater place for the Egyptians, offering little and providing little. In the depictions of the Keftiu nothing is there that positively links them with Crete. Who they were is still not clear.

There is a brief answer.

bene vale, bene valeto


Ti. Coruncanius:


One last note to add: the follower of Caesar who may have compiled and added to his works was Aulus Hirtius. Hirtius was a follower of Caesar; he was a Consul for 43 (elected by the efforts of Caesar). He perhaps wrote the last book of the Gallic War and the Alexandrian War. Hirtius was considered a decent writer in his day and may have corresponded with many notable people of the time. Apparently, his letters with Cicero and a work of Caesar's, the Anticato, have not survived.

bene vale, bene valeto

Ti. Coruncanius58

Ti. Coruncanius:

Salvere iubeo Marce!

Welcome to SVR. I hope you find it as pleasant as I have. I too studied Latin, Greek and Classics when younger. While I don't use Latin that often and it was sometimes painful to learn, I can say that it was worth it. One language professor even told me that the study Latin helped him grasp computer languages better!

You might pick up Latin easily Garrule!

Coruncanius makes virtually no language errors and writes long, detailed sentences. Also noteworthy is that he rarely uses contracted forms. Like MariPere', his vocabulary is wide-ranged; he uses words such as "statuary" or "discernable", words many people would not be inclined to use every day. Even though there are many correspondences with MariPere''s style, his style never appears to become frivolous or break some grammatical conventions to convey his meaning. He never uses any of the words described in 2.2, not even the widely spread 'lol'.

So here we have three men of different educations and professions, and each with differences in language use. Still, in spite of their differences, there are also many resemblances: the total absence of '1337 5P3AK' is one of them and the tone of their messages is rarely nonsensical. Even Orcus, with his faulty English, never seems to break a convention purposely. All in all, we can say that they use, or try to use, written English that is as close to the written standard as possible.

      1. Satan Stole My Teddybear

At the SSMT message board, the first user we'll take a closer look at is rogthefrog. He is reported to be an ex-teacher, programmer and linguist and is married. He lives in southern California but he was actually born in France.


Lowering taxes is not inherently a good thing. The Republicans are touting lowering taxes as the be all and end all of government, but I yet have to hear a reasonable explanation for why it should be so. Taxes are necessary to pay for a national or state infrastructure (roads), the cost of governing (civil servants' salaries), public safety (police and defense), and also to provide for those who can't provide for themselves - a country is a community of people, not a bunch of individuals. This includes health care, education and basic income for old people, retirees, the sick and the disabled. Everyone has to pay for it.

All I wish to happen to people who think lowering taxes is a goal to pursue is an accident or a major health problem that leaves them unable to work.

I like you, T. J., but I must say the whole libertarian/republican policy is the callous, irresponsible result of a long history of white boy coteries not giving a flying FUCK about people who work for them.

The only time I resent paying taxes is when the government squanders the money on beefing up the US defense system like the small-dicked paranoid scrooge mcduck FUCKS they are


Say you wanted to introduce a friend/significant other/parent/pet to an artist you like. Which artist would it be, what albums would you use, and in what order? Would you necessarily start with the one you think is the best, or the best-known album, etc.?

Let's say I wanted to introduce someone to Iron Maiden - I wouldn't start with the ultimate critics' favorite (Number of the Beast), but rather I'd go with Powerslave. Then I'd move on to Somewhere in Time, Piece of Mind, Number of the Beast, and Live After Death. Then the first two.



If you're into OMG TEH METAUL GAWDS62, I suggest you move to the Beyond Death or Anus forums.63

As is readily visible, the amount of cuss or pejorative words ("small-dicked", "fucks", "coteries") rogthefrog uses is much higher than any of the SVR users (who do not use them at all). His postings resemble somewhat of an automatic writing but are not really incorrect even though you can imagine them being spoken out loud, in contrast to, e.g., Coruncanius's postings that were much more formal. Note that he mocks the way 'noobs' write in the third posting. Also, many of his postings are a lot shorter than the average posting at SVR (in the examples here, his average is 10 lines per posting, whereas Orcus, for example, still averages 12 lines per posting and was the least lengthy writer of the three users examined at SVR). Rogthefrog sometimes uses the expressions and words discussed in 2.2. but nearly always in an ironic context (he is also one of the only users that use 'über' on SSMT).

We will now move on to Øystein H-O and most likely a student (exact age or study subjects are unknown). He lives in Norway.

Øystein H-O:

I know you love spam emails, but I can't say I personally do..

Is there any chance you could write a neat script for posting email-addresses on the site? At the moment the link goes directly to the emailaddress, even shows the address in the link-name!

The Elephant Talk forum has a really neat way around that problem, which I thought might not be a bad idea to try on the SSMT site.

I suppose I could try to write a phpthingy for that myself, but I'm not near your level of l33tness

You can see what I mean here:

the link titled "Toby Howard" for instance.

instead of it linking mailto:blabla@blabla.com it links to http://www.elephant-talk.com/cgi-bin/nph-obscure/newsletter%3D%25ET_ANTI_SPAM%25elephant-talk.com
Which returns a mailto thing I guess, since it works like a charm for me.

Too much work to be worth it? Hey, maybe it's something that's available for free on some script-site!

Øystein H-O:

I made a decision to not drink anymore when I was 19 or 20. I did drink quite a lot up to when I was 18 or so.

I'm not particularly hardcore in my persuasion here, it's just that I usually don't have much interest in the intoxicated feelings anymore, so I if I for some reason get the urge to, I'll take a drink or two. That being said, I can't remember having had any in well over a year now, since there's no drinks I'm particularly fond of (including Baileys, Galiano-shots and all that stuff people are always so excited about)

Soo, I picked don't drink

Øystein H-O:

" although this connection was through a later tie in" = 52 words

T (as in Trantorian) = 20th letter of the alphabet

So if you take away the Trantorian tie-in connection, you have 32*! Hence robots ain't no nuttin connected in cosmik univars!!!

4 sher

*which is obviously the number 23 as well... But in the continuum everything is 23.

Øystein's way of writing is obviously more computer-centered. In some way he represents a bit of an archetypical computer freak, in both his interest in science fiction ("Trantorian67") and his interest in scripting68 ("phpthingy69"). Further on the forum he also makes drawings in ASCII characters and discusses another one of Isaac Asimov's books. Although he is interested in computers, he is well aware of his status and also mocks it ("but I'm not near your level of l33tness"). Despite the fact that his postings are structurally quite unorganised, his English shows few flaws, both in terms of spelling and grammar.

The last user that will be discussed is Ded Mitya. The only thing known about him is that he lives in Russia.

Ded Mitya:

1. Political Correctness sucks and must go.

2. Grammer sucks.

3. False modesty is a road to withering on the outskirts of the world (= I rewl).

4. Boredom is the source of posts like this.

5. Eggplants rule.

6. When you typing crap like that sitting in headphones listening to Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and your boss comes from behind and taps you on the shoulder, it's near the perfect chance to get a heart attack.

7. Even Burzum listeners can survive without meat for three or moere days.

8. Rearwheeldrivecars rule.

9. Shell scripts kick ass.

10. None of the above.



Ded Mitya:

John, are you trying to burn loads of bad karma by willful subjecting yorself to music of InsideOut signees and wrighting reviews of those albums? (I can see your pain, coz I think that even John Mclaughlin's output is too happy and non-offensive).

I think, it's a good idea to write a template review and have a script procedure to fill blanks for album titles and band name, depending on which link you click.

Also, I'd suggest changing word "progressive" to either "regressive" or "70s nostalgic".


Ded Mitya:

Does building one's own experimental setup, on which one acquired results that made 100% of the body of a successfully defended Ph.D. thesis qualify as "building one's nuclear plant"? If not, I'd stick with "furniture" option (I really did).


Like rogthefrog and Øystein, Ded Mitya's English is also more informal than the English used on the SVR boards ("sucks", "rule", many contracted forms). It's hard to tell whether or not his mistakes in English are the result of Russian being his mother language, or if they are the result of imperfect learning of English as a second language. At any rate, in Ded Mitya's use of language words and lexical items usually deemed incorrect72 creep in ("coz" for 'because') but still he remains intelligible, although we get the strong impression that he writes without checking his spelling or grammar. With regards to the specific internet lexis, Ded Mitya uses some of the words (again "coz", but also "rewl") but it's not always inferrable from the context whether or not it's ironically meant. Whereas in SVR postings nearly always end with a formal goodbye or a name, this is not always the case on SSMT. Ded Mitya does so, but Øystein and rogthefrog never do.

      1. Mortal Kombat Online

The last board we will visit is the MKO board. The first user examined here is Hyuga. Data on him is shady. He has claimed to be from Jamaica or the UK but is, in fact, from the US. He's most likely a student in his late teens or early twenties.


NeoScorpion, sometimes you do act like you're on crazy pills. For one, I don't post my art in the forum, I comment on it. You get just as many dragon points for critiques as you do actual art. Second of all, stop saying you don't care about dragon points. If you didn't, you would not have said anything. It's kind of funny, I suppose. The people who say they don't care about DP are the mortals73 who always bring it up. The people who really don't care are the ones who have the higher rank. Kind of a hilarious cycle, huh?74


Do you really think I give a shit what people think of me on the internet? If I did, would I act like this so much? No. I'd be nice to everybody. I like a maximum of 10 people here.75


Get it through your head that I was trying to back up what you said with alternate ideas because it was obvious that you were making yourself look like a jackass (if you were right or not was a different story). Nobody was listening to you. Then, when you realized that fact, you had to result to calling people morons. Why the fuck wouldn't I look at this from a technical standpoint? They were relying on a technical error as their only shred of evidence. I took the available data and explained that the possible combinations were astronomical. I didn't try to use your "Boon76 said..." argument. Why? Because it has nothing to do with anything. Boon doesn't know shit. That's why I hacked the ROM. To look at all of the variables and to prove that the audit data doesn't have to do with anything. Everything after that was done at the request of the others. You can't keep relying on what others (Boon, the programmers) have told you. You'd make a terrible criminal investigator. You'd walk to a crime scene, see no footprints, and say "Well, I can't see any footprints, so it looks like there was no crime here.77"

As may already be evident, the trend towards writing more automatically and, in fact, in a way that resembles speech, is even stronger on MKO (as the next users will also prove). Hyuga frequently uses one or more of the six words in 2.2. but almost invariably in ironic contexts. In contrast to SVR and to a degree, to SSMT, Hyuga's sentences are much shorter and a structure in posting is virtually absent. He also uses contracted forms nearly all the time. Whether or not this is intentional is up for debate. He often posts completely absurd comments. He might not be as stylistically careful as, for example, users like Coruncanius from SVR, but he mocks people that spell bad or mangle up their syntax. For example, his signature contained the following quote, incidentally from the next user we'll be examing: "look you imbassals."

Outworld222, the user in question is a 20-ish man working for the US military.


Anyone notice that there is no point to this commission, and that it is just a bullypulppet to beat up on the white house because they are jealous of this presidents leadership? What was accomplished by rices testimony today? Leaps and bounds of progress on some front? Any front? Oh ok. I see. The imaginary front.78


Youre fucken tortured soul and cowerdice, is all I need to keep me happy. And always remember that in youre fucken brain. Keep that thought with you forever.79


Not really, it was more animated then cartoonish, if that makes sense to you. People see it as cartoonish becasue it is the first 3d attempt, you know? Its like in youre computer class if you insert a 2d pic, there is nothing cartoonish about it, but youre first attempt at a more "3D" pic, well, i'll bet you itll turn cartoonish very quickly, my mom is like a 3d engineer for houses, when I first at saw her first 3d house, I was like man thats cartoonish. But the later fountains and all that were not that bad.80

Outworld222 is a clear example of someone who is most likely aware of most spelling, grammar and syntax rules but ignores them. The frequent dropping of the apostrophe is an example of this ("ill", "youre" and "rices"). He does not write paragraphed postings, but then again there is no real need to do so as his postings are all rather short. His typing closely resembles speech patterns ("is like", "was like" and "and all") and sometimes makes him make spelling errors ("fucken" or "cowerdice"). Compare this to MariPere' from SVR, who is a retired military man, and the difference is both striking and obvious. Outworld222 only uses 'lol' very frequently and 'noob' a couple of times but never any of the other four words.

The last user we'd like to discuss is WRDLFE21, a 17-year-old male student. Like the two others, he is also from the US (the vast majority of users on MKO is from the United States). A few postings of his:


I mean Jax was the first black dude sooo why not represent LA RASA mainly because i am a MEXICAN and i think that mortal kombat needs ta add sum street flava!! and if you cant read pimp then u cant see me because im a mo*****#% P.I.M.P represtin the 623 down on the west side81


When i got the april PSM i laughed out loud when Ed Boon announced that barny82,ryu,ken83,easter bunny and sant84 were gonna be in MKD85 i laughed and well i cant wait to beat the shti out of BARNey. But Ryu and Ken thats gonna be intresting86



If Coruncanius from the SVR forums represents one extreme of the spectrum, WRDLFE21 definitely represents the other. It goes without saying that either he types extremely fast and ignores the rules at least (partially) purposely, or that he is simply (partially) unaware of them. As shown by his third message, he is also unaware of netiquette, as it's called, by typing a message completely in uppercase, without interpunction whatsoever. Sometimes the grammar and syntax are so mangled up that it's hard to determine what WRDLFE21 is talking about or trying to convey to the reader. Except from the omnipresent word 'lol', he never uses one of the other words or expressions. Noteworthy are spoken-like spellings such as "sooo" for a lengthened "so", "u" for "you" and not only the usage of contracted forms but the omission of apostrophes throughout ("cant" or "thats").

  1. Internet English: a cyberdream?

The previous sections have clearly demonstrated that there is a wide variety in the usage of English across the internet. This may or may not be determined by the type of forum, the topics of the forum or the users on it. A difference should be maintained between lexical items that are specific to the internet and are purposely used and recognised as such, and, on the other hand, lexical, syntactic or grammatical items that are unintentionally deformed and met with criticism by other users.

The concept of 'internet English' is met with the following problems:

  1. The internet has no hierarchical structure, let alone the anglophone part of the internet. As such, 'internet English' does not only not exist, it will most likely never exist because there is no regulating authority on syntax, spelling and lexis on the internet.

  2. A 'real' language variant would be one in which children can be raised. This is not the case.

  3. Message board users are aware of the normal syntax and spelling rules of written English, as formally instructed at school. The ignoring of the rules is usually the consequence of sloppiness rather than an intended effect: there is no pattern in it. The formally instructed standard is still the standard, as can be seen by the irritation of some users towards users who do not observe or obey the rules.

  4. There is however a pattern in the disobeying of the normal rules. This is usually done by people who are younger than 25 and/or have lower education levels. There are also correspondences to the style and range of vocabulary the users display and how they spell or observe the grammatical rules as taught in schools. Users who write closer to the written standards of English, will also have a wider ranging vocabulary.

  5. There is also a pattern in the usage of typical 'internet lexis'. Forums where generally people with specific computer or gaming interests meet and/or forums that have a larger amount of people of a younger age and/or lower education levels, tend to have a larger amount of 'internet lexis'. This is, however, usually not used by both ends of the spectrum (the extremely formal and the extremely informal users).

  6. There is no unity over what an 'internet English' could constitute, first and foremost not among the users themselves. Rather, each individual brings its own preferred variant of speech and/or writing to the internet. As such, we can regard 'internet English' as the label for all Englishes that are used on the internet and we can assert that 'internet English' does not exist as an independent variety of English.

  1. Sources and references

1 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1235945.stm, an article from March 23, 2001 on the BBC website about 'internet English'

2 The term BBS or Bulletin Board System used to be popular but this term is hardly used anymore. The preferred term for it is now either message board or (internet) forum.

3 http://www.societasviaromana.org

4 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2

5 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/db/

6 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/index.php

7 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com or http://www.mk5.org

8 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/index.cds

9 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=4161

10 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=14

11 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=15 ; he will henceforth be referred to as Orcus for brevity's sake.

12 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=54 ; he will henceforth be referred to as Coruncanius for brevity's sake

13 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=3

14 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=48

15 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=41

16 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/user/viewprofile.cds?Hyuga

17 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/user/viewprofile.cds?outworld222

18 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/user/viewprofile.cds?WRDLFE21

19 There are many types of message boards online. Some webmasters make their own, but usually they come in the form of internet software.

20 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/user/viewprofile.cds?cogline

21 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=10456

22 alternatively known as '0wnage' and 'pwnage' with the verb 'to own', also 'to 0wn' or 'to pwn', sometimes expressed by '>'

23 alternatively known as 'w00t'

24 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=655

25 Acronyms like the once-popular 'rtfm' ('read the fucking manual'), mentioned in various magazines and books in the mid- and late-'90s, have become outdated or unused.

26 alternatively known as 'l33t' or 'leet'

27 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

29 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

30 The breaking of software codes and passwords to allow pirated software to function without the necessary passwords or codes.

31 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

32 Whereas a 'nerd' is usually the more mathematical, clean computer freak, possessing a keen intellect, the 'geek' or 'dork' is the prototypical antisocial, dirty computer freak.

33 alternatively known as 'n00b'

34 'Flaming' is the internet term for (deliberately) posting offensive remarks or topics. A 'flame-war' is a discussion that has raged out of control.

35 Overburdening a server, chatbox or forum with nonsense.

36 The origin of this word is unknown, but by now almost every regular internet user is familiar with the term. Spam is usually unwanted mail, advertising or unintelligible mumbo-jumbo that clutters up mailboxes, chatboxes or message boards.

37 On the Mortal Kombat Online forums, <n00b> is also used to differentiate between this term and the Mortal Kombat video game character Noob Saibot, whose name is unconnected to this noun (his name are the names of the game creators written backwards).

38 alternatively known as 'uber-' or 'ueber-'

39 This data was gathered on April 9 and 10, 2004.

40 This was done, each time, through the search engine of the forum. Because these engines are not perfect, the numbers should be regarded as approximately right, not mathematically correct.

41 Of course, words can appear twice within a posting as well, but the search engines of the message boards were too limited to conduct such searches.

42 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/user/viewprofile.cds?MENTHOL

43 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=mkda&message=19649

44 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=31

45 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6151

46 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=170

47 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6151

48 This is Latin for "hello everyone" and is one of the common greetings of the SVR message board

49 God-like presences or beings in the Roman pagan religion.

50 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=346&highlight=#346

51 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4042&highlight=#4042

52 This was his old nickname on the SVR board.

53 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=76&highlight=#76

54 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4102&highlight=#4102

55 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=4150&highlight=#4150

56 Here: a typical way of expressing oneself linguistically

57 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=953&highlight=#953

58 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=3462&highlight=#3462

59 http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=3977&highlight=#3977

60 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=74033&highlight=#74033

61 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=74043&highlight=#74043

62 = "Oh my God the metal gods"

63 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=71121&highlight=#71121

64 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=31493&highlight=#31493

65 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=65771&highlight=#65771

66 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=68510&highlight=trantorian#68510

67 Trantor is the capital planet of the interstellar empire created in Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" novels.

68 Shortly put, a form of internet page programming

69 PHP is a type of coding.

70 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=69245&highlight=#69245

71 http://www.ssmt-reviews.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=70940&highlight=#70940

72 For spelling rules we based ourselves on the online dictionary http://www.dictionary.com by the Lexico Publishing Group, 2004. This in turn also refers to about ten other dictionaries for making up its spelling rules and definitions of words.

73 "Mortal" is a ranking on the MKO forum; one's ranking can increase by obtaining "dragon points". The more you have of these, the higher your ranking will be.

74 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=5609

75 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=3183

76 Ed Boon, the creator of the Mortal Kombat videogame franchise


78 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=10368

79 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=main&message=1902


81 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=mk6&message=45390

82 Barney from the Flinstones

83 Ryu and Ken are characters from Street Fighter, another famous fighting game series

84 He means Santa Claus

85 Mortal Kombat: Deception, the new Mortal Kombat game that is supposed to come out around the Fall of 2004

86 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=mk6&message=45390

87 http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/forum/showmessage.cds?name=mk6&message=33759