BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Internet speak: ‘Snail mail’ is the traditional letter delivering service in which you have a postman and a post box. The verb ‘to post’ and the noun ‘post’ have also gained new meanings in the internet age.
Rob and Li teach you words and phrases used when you work with computers. Listen to the programme to find out more.
On the internet again?
Yes. It seems we can’t survive without spending hours on the computer every day.
Hey, have you noticed how many new words and phrases have been created or have changed their meaning thanks to the development of the internet?
One thing I’m sure about. If someone tells you they’re sending you something via ‘snail mail’, don’t expect to open an envelope and find lots of snails coming out of it.
And your letters won’t be delivered by snails either. It would take years!
That’s funny when you think about it. Well, not if you are a snail, for sure!
‘Snail mail’ is the traditional letter delivering service in which you have a postman and a post box. It’s different from email or electronic mail, when the message sent on the computer travels quickly to its destination.
This is one of the expressions in today’s The English We Speak:
I’m sending my auntie Marge this lovely birthday card via snail mail. She lives in Japan.
I much prefer using email these days. All I get by snail mail are these marketing leaflets!
Well, the verb ‘to post’ and the noun ‘post’ have also gained new meanings in the internet age.
If you write an opinion on a social media website – you ‘post’ a comment – your comment is… well, ‘a post’!
Before, you had to go to the post office to… post your letters. Here are some more examples of this new meaning of ‘post’.
This website’s all about how trendy it is to wear fur. I don’t like it at all. I think I’ll post a comment!
Mary has a blog about food and she publishes new posts every day.
So, there are no snails in your snail mail and… your ‘hard copy’ is… guess what?
Not hard at all!
Yes. ‘Hard copy’ is what we call the paper version of a document you write on your computer or of a digital picture you take.
Paper is flexible, but the paper document is called ‘hard copy’. Let’s hear some examples here in The English We Speak.
I’ll give you a hard copy of my report, Mary. You can read it on the bus, on your way home.
I have a digital copy of my wedding picture as a screensaver at work but I much prefer my hard copy in a frame. It’s much nicer.
There you go. ‘Hard copy’, ‘to post’ or ‘a post’ and ‘snail mail’, all come about because of computers and the internet! New words and phrases are appearing every day and we have to keep up.
That’s it from us for today. Bye bye.
The English We Speak – Internet speak Transcript Video
The English We Speak
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- The English We Speak – Take a rain check
- The English We Speak – Hot potato
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- The English We Speak – Skeleton in the closet
- The English We Speak – In good nick
- The English We Speak – Get lost!
- The English We Speak – Cheap and cheerful
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