The rapid spread of Information Technology (IT) in recent years and the role it plays in many aspects of our lives has not left language use untouched. A manifestation of this role is the degree of linguistic creativity that has accompanied technological innovation. In English, this creativity is seen in the semantic relabeling of established terms such as web, bug, virus, firewall, etc. Another strategy favored by IT lexifiers is the use of lexical items clustered in heavy premodifying groups, as in random access memory, disk operating system, central processing unit, and countless others (White, 1999). In brief, IT technology – and in particular, the World Wide Web – has made it possible for users to break free of many linguistic codes and conventions (Lemke, 1999).
For the linguist, the happy outcome of the spread of IT is that it has created an opportunity to analyze the simultaneous development of technology and the language that encodes it and the influence of one on the other (Stubbs, 1997). To linguists of a broadly functional disposition, this is a chance to confirm the observation that scientific language differs substantially from everyday language. More importantly, it is also a chance to verify the claim made chiefly by Halliday & Martin (1993) that this difference in the characteristics of each of these discourses stems from a radical difference between scientific and common sense construals of the world around us.