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A Specific Dimension of English Usage by a Subculture - Essay Example

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Hackers: A Specific Dimension of English Usage By a Subculture Word Count: 770 (3 pages) I. Introduction The use of slang is utilized in almost any subculture or group—being an informal usage of language that conveys meaning known only to its speakers. Hacker slang, therefore, is a language that would only be understood by hackers or people who design and crack computer codes for a living…
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Download file to see previous pages For example, if someone has developed a code that is questionable, some hackers may call for a ‘sanity check.’ A sanity check is the “act of checking a piece of code...for completely stupid mistakes.”1 This implies that at the time of writing the code the hacker was not in his or her right mind. As another example shows, when hackers talk about how something is ‘fab,’ they very rarely mean that something is fabulous. Rather, they are saying that something is fabricated. For example, someone who ‘fabs’ a chip is creating a silicon foundry. These are just small examples of how hacker slang is used within the continuum of the community. Of course, there are pages and pages worth of slang that one could use, so hacker slang would have to be learned over time. However, it could be done. These illustrations of hacker slang show just how particular the hacker community can be when describing various elements of their lives as code designers and code breakers. III. Analyzing Hacker Slang There are several reasons why hackers use slang. Every word that is said is intentional, even if hackers use emoticons in their conversations online. If one analyzes hacker slang, one will realize that every little symbol and word can carry double and even triple entendres, with multiple shades of meaning behind every keystroke. This is the fascinating world of hacker slang. People in the hacker community use this slang intentionally so that outsiders cannot understand it. Just like getting into any community or group to be accepted, one has to ease into the culture of a particular group. For example, a homeless man doing a presentation for venture capitalists on Wall Street wouldn’t walk into a boardroom, full of executives wearing rags, with a cardboard sign saying “Will work for food.” Rather, he’ll find the wherewithal to buy or rent a nice suit, prepare a resume and then go pitch his idea for the presentation. In order to ‘fit in,’ one must look and act the part. IV. Explaining the Usefulness of Hacker Slang The usefulness of hacker slang is a rite of passage within the hacker community. People build code together, work on open source software and freeware together; they become a small, close-knit community—but online. “The special slang vocabulary of hackers helps hold their culture together—it helps hackers recognize each others’ positions within the community and expresses shared values and communities. However, as with most slang cultures, not knowing the slang or using it inappropriately defines one as an outsider.”2 So, not only does hacker slang keep the people who are not in the hacker community at the fringes but it can as well help hackers know who is in the community that they don’t know—much like any other secret language would do. ‘White hat’ hackers — or ethical hackers — are, probably, more important for companies and are useful to prevent Distributed Denial of Service attacks on organizations with complicated systems which are in source code. ‘White hat’ hackers, as they are known, is a slang for the fact that these people find vulnerabilities in companies’ codes on purpose in order to save them millions of dollars so that they don’t get hacked by ‘black hat hackers’ (unethical hackers). “‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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