"On" internet or "In" internet?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No. I mean the syllable with the accent. We say IN-ter-net, not in-TER-net.
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  3. Gustav Banned Banned

    perhaps this is what the "in" is all about....

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    The metaphor used to describe the "sense of a social setting that exists purely within a space of representation and communication . . . it exists entirely within a computer space, distributed across increasingly complex and fluid networks." (Slater 2002, 355) The term "Cyberspace" started to become a de facto synonym for the internet, and later the World Wide Web, during the 1990s, especially in academic circles and activist communities. Author Bruce Sterling, who popularized this meaning, credits John Perry Barlow as the first to use it to refer to "the present-day nexus of computer and telecommunications networks." Barlow describes it thus in his essay to announce the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (note the spatial metaphor) in June, 1990:

    In this silent world, all conversation is typed. To enter it, one forsakes both body and place and becomes a thing of words alone. You can see what your neighbors are saying (or recently said), but not what either they or their physical surroundings look like. Town meetings are continuous and discussions rage on everything from sexual kinks to depreciation schedules.

    Whether by one telephonic tendril or millions, they are all connected to one another. Collectively, they form what their inhabitants call the Net. It extends across that immense region of electron states, microwaves, magnetic fields, light pulses and thought which sci-fi writer William Gibson named Cyberspace.
    —John Perry Barlow, "Crime and Puzzlement," 1990-06-08​
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Spot on!
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Are you
    in (the)* bed
    on the bed?

    If you're in (the)* bed, this means that you have covered yourself with the blanket while on the bed.

    If you're on the bed, this means that you are on the bed and have not covered yourself with the blanket.

    *Note how in bed has become a phrase that sometimes requires no article, while the preposition on does, in this case.

    So technically, it could be that if you actively participate online, then you're
    in the internet (just like you're in bed when you act in line with the function of the bed, ie. cover yourself with a blanket),
    but you're on the internet when you're just a passive observer (just like when you're on the bed you're not acting in line with the function of the bed, ie. don't cover yourself with a blanket).
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member



    The German idiomatic translation would be "in the internet" (im Internet). We'd never say "auf", ie. "on the internet."
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That would be a pseudoetymology.

    In them early days, there was some more awareness of the distinction between the internet and the intranet.
    The emphasis was on the difference between intra and inter - as at that time, this was based on an important technological difference between the requirements for connecting the computers in one relatively small space (such as an office) and connecting computers that are located in different cities or even countries.

    (In some places, they nowadays use the internet for intranet purposes.)
  10. Saint Valued Senior Member

    How about inside internet?
  11. Gustav Banned Banned


    the referenced post is the kind of example you offer with your "bed"
    rather that "on the art world", it is "in the art world"
    it is a metaphorical space in which objects are held to reside

    so ah, signal
    you are a german girl?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Like "in school." The Brits even say "in hospital," although we don't.
    But we say "on vacation," "on land," etc.
    There is very little consistency between the use of prepositions in two different languages, even two as closely related as English and German.

    As I have often opined here, prepositions are linguistic artifacts left over from the Stone Age, a very small set of words that are expected to describe every conceivable type of relationship. Pick one at random and look it up in the dictionary. You'll probably find at least twenty definitions that have very little in common. Sometimes I wonder whether the only reason we still use prepositions is that it allows us to identify foreign speakers. They often choose the wrong preposition, and what's so fascinating about that phenomenon is that it hardly ever actually interferes with our understanding of their speech. Just as here, we all know that "on the internet" is the correct phrase, but we all understand "in the internet" just fine, as we would "through the internet" or "behind the internet."

    Prepositions are one of the few classes of words which we are not allowed to invent, unlike nouns, verbs and adjectives. The number of new prepositions added to English since it split off from German 1600 years ago is very small: about, behind, into, toward... There are some but less than a hundred, whereas, how many new kinds of relationships are there that our preindustrial ancestors didn't need to describe?

    We've added thousands of new nouns to our language just in my own lifetime!

    In this century we have overcome that obstacle by inventing a new kind of word: the noun-adjective compound. We say user-friendly, fuel-efficient, labor-intensive, and a host of new words that describe relationships very precisely.
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    These are just normal word-formation products, short forms of phrases:

    user-friendly <- friendly to the user
    fuel-efficient <- efficient in the use of fuel
    labor-intensive <- requiring a lot of labor

    These compounds do not describe a new relationship, they are just short forms of longer phrases.

    In other languages, such as German, this kind of formation of new words is common.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm sure they look normal to you, since German is famous for its word-building engine. That's how you manage to survive without borrowing a lot of foreign words. But this particular kind of compound was not a living, standard mode of word creation in English until the late 20th century. I doubt that there were more than ten or twenty noun-adjective compounds in the entire dictionary in 1940. I can't even think of an old one, although I managed to remember one and posted it here a few months ago.
    For starters, this reduces a six-syllable phrase to a four-syllable compound. But in addition, "friendly to the user" is a phrase that cannot be simply put in front of a noun: a friendly-to-the-user interface? Nope: that's German syntax! We would have to say "an interface that is friendly to the user." By saying instead "a user-friendly interface," we have reduced twelve syllables to eight, a 33% improvement.

    I know you Germans love your long, intricate sentences, but we don't!
    "An engine that is efficient in the use of fuel" vs. "A fuel-efficient engine." Thirteen syllables become seven: a reduction of almost 50%!
    "A project that requires a lot of labor" vs. "A labor-intensive project." From eleven syllables to eight. This is the smallest reduction in all the examples in this post, and it's still a colossal 27% improvement in the efficiency of our language.

    If we could reduce all eleven-syllable sentences to eight syllables, English might some day be as compact and efficient as Mandarin, which can be spoken very slowly to improve comprehension by students, foreigners, and people who are merely unfamiliar with the subject matter. This is a tremendous advantage for a "global" language.
    They describe relationships that people didn't often need to talk about in the Stone Age, so they didn't need short, efficient ways to describe them. We do, and we do.
    As I noted earlier, "short" is not a quality that Germans value in language. It's very important to us. We invented texpeak!

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    Even in Latin, but the modern Romance languages have largely lost it. The other Germanic languages still retain it, if for no other reason than that they have great respect for German and often copy German word formations, such as Danish vitenskap for Wissenschaft. We just appropriated the shorter French word, "science." If we had done the same thing as the Danes and called it "witship" it would probably be the brunt of a lot of bad puns in science classes for children.

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    After the Norman invasion we fell into the habit of borrowing French words rather than inventing our own. Even basic everyday words like face, second, use, question and very are French. After the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment, French became the universal language of scholarship in most of Europe. So we continued to do things the French way, which now means building new compound words out of Latin and Greek roots, such as telescope and petrochemical.

    The new noun-adjective compound is a return to the practice of building new words from English sources, rather than foreign. Even if most of the "English" component words are, themselves, foreign borrowings. Fuel, efficient, labor, intensive, user, friendly: Only the last word of those six is English!
  15. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Here in the Netherlands we say the equivalent of "on the internet" (op het internet). You'd get some funny looks if you would say "in het internet". It would mean that you are literally inside the internet.
  16. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    The true meaning of the Internet isn't a collection of servers internationally, it's more along the lines of being an ethereal data stream following an industry standard that happens to exist on international servers running a varying number of operating systems and other software.

    In other words it's non-corporeal, ether-presence.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    People are starting to use the word "cloud" to refer to the data that's stored out there, somewhere, in ways they don't understand.
  18. Gustav Banned Banned

    internet > in-the-net-work

  19. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

    I am internet.
    I am on internet.
    I am in the net.
    (I want jam and a net)
  20. Enmos Valued Senior Member

  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I am sorry, but this is cheap pseudolinguistic propaganda.
    I guess it's okay for occasional chit-chat to brag like you just did, but it has nothing to do with science.

    I am sure that if you would be fluent in German, or a language with a similar syntax and rich word-formation (such as a Slavic language), you would think differently.
  22. Gustav Banned Banned

    i''ll apologize for us americans, signal
    we are not all dumb ass jingoist bastards with cheap and underhanded putdowns

    "you germans"?

    no wonder we never get euros on this board
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  23. Varda The Bug Lady Valued Senior Member

    Gustav shut the fuck up goddammit. Just for a couple of weeks, fuck.

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