The way in which we can communicate with one another has changed rapidly over the past decade. Home telephones have given way to mobile phones, email to Facebook, instant messaging to text messages, and the lists goes on and on. The way in which we communicate has changed drastically, but not just how we communicate with one another by what and how we say it.
The introduction of media such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, World of Warcraft, and other online social activities have brought about a dramatic change in the way we speak to one another. Twenty years ago if you came up to me saying, “Omg, WTF! BRB!” I would think you were in need of serious mental help. Now, abbreviations of phrases, incorporation of numeric values, and cropped text are commonplace. he average American is more than familiar with internet slang and online lingo, and may even use it in vocally quite often.
In his book, The Young and the Digital, S. Craig Watkins discussed the way in which communication and the Internet has changed how we communicate with one another. Watkins gives an amazing history of the various communication forms from MUDs to Facebook enlightening his readers about the technology that is changing our language. While Watkins’ book reveals more of the history of the technology and how it is currently used it does not go into detail on how the English language is changing.
Zoe Kleinman discusses the changes in the English language from the influence of the Internet in her article on August of 2010 on the BBC News website.
“But that is hardly a surprise, according to David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, who says that new colloquialisms spread like wildfire amongst groups on the net. ‘The internet is an amazing medium for languages,’ he told BBC News (Kleinman 1).”
I have found in recent years the use of acronyms in advertising, text books, and every day speech somewhat concerning which was also addressed by others in Kleinman’s article.
Kleinman’s article also reveals that the Oxford English Dictionary not only researches the changes in various aspects of the language, but adds new words accordingly. I wonder if Mr. Watkins counted on the Internet not only becoming a means to communicate so rapidly, but to also alter the structure of an entire language.
I often wonder if the future merely holds a language of alpha and numeric abbreviations that can easily be misinterpreted. Will our children take the time to talk to one another using full words, or are we moving into an age where conversation is a technology that is as old as AIM.
Kleinman, Zoe, “How the Internet is Changing Language,” BBC News, pp. 1, August 16, 2010. URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10971949
Watkins, S. Craig,” Language Online” The Young and the Digital, pp10-28, 2006, URL: http://www.theyoungandthedigital.com/