Cyber- talk

 In Modern English


black friday cyber monday


Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, and associated with crowds of bargain hunters streaming to the malls of America, may just be seeing its last hoorah as Cyber Monday quietly replaces it as  the ultimate bargain shopping experience in the United States. Cyber Monday refers to the online shopping bargains that can be had the Monday after Black Friday, and as online shopping starts to gain ground over retail store shopping, this is set to become the ultimate shopping savings day. But why cyber?

How the word cyber became ubiquitous

Cyber.  It just makes any word cool, weird and interesting.  Somehow, more culturally relevant. We cyber researchers at TALK English Schools wanted to find out how cyber became the must-have accessory for every noun.  This is the result of our study:

It is used as a prefix before the word, usually.

Its widespread application is really quite recent, coinciding with the rise of the internet in the 1990s.  One count in 1994 had 104 words that were formed by the word cyber.   Now that figure must be more like several hundred.

Cyberpunk and cyberspace are among the early cyber words, first used in the 80’s .  Cyberspace was used by William Gibson in his 1984 novel Neuromancer.

A slight variation, cyborg,  came a lot earlier. In the 1960’s it described a person who was partly a robot.  Also, in that same decade, the series “Dr. Who” featured those enemies of the good doctor –  the Cybermen!

Stages of cyberman

Stages of cyberman


Now the use of cyber is completely out of control.   We are suffering from a serious case of cyber-fatigue.

The meaning of the word cyberspace has evolved over the past decade. Early on it is life, it was electronic space which offered us a virtual reality.  Now it seems that it refers to anything internet, electronic or sci-fi or just plain cool.

We use the word in front of various words – nouns, mostly.  Here are some common compound words using cyber.

  • For online writers or writing, there are words like cyber-scribe and cyberzines
  • Online trading has cyber-shopping and cybercommerce.
  • A person who uses computers to communicate is a cybernaut
  • Cyber-bullying has become a widespread social problem, especially affecting the young
  • Cyberphobia is an irrational fear of the internet
  • Cyber-crime is about hacking, fraud, identity theft through the internet
  • A cyberjockey works online in internet chat rooms dealing with questions from novice cybernauts
  • Cyberculture – we want to be part of this, if we do not want to be called cyber-dinosaurs.

Happy Cyber Holidays to you all!

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