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Internet slang, like its counterparts in the spoken and written forms, is a mode of communication that typically consists of shortened words or phrases, neologisms (new words), abbreviations or initialisms, and paralinguistic or paraverbal markers. In the online space, netspeak (as Internet slang is sometimes called) allows the user to take shortcuts, save time, and communicate more efficiently. This efficiency is important for online media in which space is limited or input devices, such as mobile phones, prohibit the typing of lengthy messages. The use of Internet slang can also be considered a form of codeswitching, a sociolinguistic practice that helps users establish social groups in both inclusive and exclusive ways. This entry discusses the role that Internet slang plays in social communication. Additionally, the ...

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