Sunday, May 16, 2010

The future of internet language?

Here's an interesting essay I found discussing how internet language may be changing our use of English in general. It's not doom-and-gloom, though, and refers to poetry as an example of how language can be flexible. Some interesting thoughts.

The essay is here.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some provoking thoughts. He has some good points, though I don't see internet speak as a breakdown/non-breakdown of language in general. I see chat-speak and text-speak as types of code. Which I guess is a type of language. It's just one that runs concurrent with the normal language.

    Acronyms and dropped letters make it quicker and easier to pass along messages. But you have to know the original language/have common reference points to make sense of it. (The number of times I've had to go, "Wait. What did that mean?" is too many to count.) Some people have internalized the code, so that they don't have to consciously translate, but you still have to know the mutual frame of reference. Otherwise, you won't translate the meaning to what the typer meant. Gamers have specific codes for things pertaining to individual games. In WoW (World of Warcraft), UK refers to a dungeon rather than a real world country. Without knowing that someone is gamer, someone else might get confused by the gamer talking about getting a party together to kill things in UK. (Yes, I am a WoW player. How'd you guess?)

    Companies have personalized jargon that outsiders wouldn't comprehend. Friends have private shorthand phrases for longer meanings. Even science has it's share of nearly incomprehensible jargon and shorthand. I took a whole class on scientific terminology in college, and it's still hard to read scientific papers. Internet speak is just an extension of that, one that is more widely accessible.

    Outside of certain kinds of communications, I don't see internet-speak really changing conventions for the overall language, only in creating its own set of rules for the specialized context.