Saturday, July 10, 2004


Cyber links

In terms of neologisms, this cyber age is very kind to the lexis of English. New words are constantly added on to encompass novel concepts. When spam makes folk spazz out, how will they react to spim? Spam is the undesirable practice of posting the same message, usually irrelevant or inappropriate, repeatedly to a large number of Internet users. The original spam was a blend of sp(iced) (h)am and referred to the tinned meat product made primarily out of spiced ham. When spam became a major irritant for US netizens, the Monty Python comedy group responded with the sketch of a restaurant where spam is served with everything, giving widespread acceptance to this word: 'Don't make fuss, dear. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam spam'. And now there is spim to contend with.

Spim refers to the junk instant messages that keep disturbing the peace by appearing on mobile phones at all odd hours. Spazzed out came into being in the mid 1980s as a term for losing physical or emotional control, especially as the result of any intense experience. Probably, it has been influenced by spaz as a slang abbreviation for spasm. Toothing is another term that owes its origin to the mobile phone. High-end mobile phones have a built-in Blue tooth functionality that allows users to automatically locate other such devices in the area. As demonstrated by advertisements, toothing is slowly taking the form of anonymous sex with strangers, as users discover other users in the area and then send speculative messages to test the waters.

EyePhone sounds like an oxymoron; how can eyes hear? In virtual reality, it exists as the headset that provides its wearer stereoscopic visual images and synchronised sound. The term was created as a pun on earphone, as it gives similar private audio access. It consists of two small television screens, one for each eye, which are fed slightly different views of the scene so that the wearer perceives a three-dimensional stereoscopic vision.

This feature was published on July 3, 2004