Language and the Internet
Department of English
June 6th 2013
Language and the Internet
The internet is one of the most controversial yet revolutionary inventions in the world. It has spawned new media and industry but perhaps the greatest contribution the internet has given is the ability to connect to the world twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. However, this amazing technological feat is also regarded by many to be the harbinger of doom for not just the English language, but for all languages of both the word and the mouth. Despite this, I do not believe the internet is the destroyer of language that some paranoid scientist may claim it to be. Rather, I believe the internet is a tool for refining and improving language in the modern era. I believe that the internet creates new rules for language and even changes some old rules that have been in place since the medieval times. I daresay the internet may even be the next step in the evolution of language.
The introduction of online social media sites have been such a huge hit with people that it would not be an understatement to say that they are all over the internet. The wide-spread success of these cites has done more than just give bored individuals something to do Rather, these sites are some of the main catalyst for some of the changes occurring to language. To elaborate on this however, I must first explain how some of these sites work. Many social cites have an option to allow the posting of comments and user feedback on videos, pictures, and various other kinds of media. These comment sections however, are very constrained and usually allow an individual only a few words to express oneself. This is where the ingenuity of the internet comes in though. In an effort to save time and space, the users of these sites have and shortened words created new acronyms in the effort to say as much as possible with as little words as possible. “The use of acronyms – LOL, TTYL, IMHO, TMI, OMG – alleviates the need to type long phrases, and reduces space” (Densmer). This allows the users of these sites to say as much as they can, with as little words as possible. Some have argued however that these acronyms are nothing but fractured words. They mutilate meanings and distort words more than necessary as well as serve only to confuse others. While it is true that these acronyms may distort words to a degree, this can also be seen as language evolving and adapting to the new rules of the internet. What should also be taken into consideration is the fact that these acronyms are not constantly changing. Rather than being transient and subject to change, much of the acronyms introduced on the internet have fixed rules. Much like speech, they can only be used in certain ways, have their own connotations, and are spelled in a specific way. “Texting is a new method of communication with its own rules, structure and purpose (Think of the communication purpose and style differences between speech writing and formal speeches, newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, emails and now tweets)” (Densmer). In this sense, language is flourishing and evolving rather than in danger.
One of the most widespread ideas about the internet is that the introductions of techno speak will be the downfall of language. “Techno speak will become the new standard of English, standards will be lost, and creativity diminished as globalization imposes sameness” (Crystal; 24). This however is not the case. Rather than diminish creativity, I believe the internet has increased creativity and diversity through the World Wide Web. The limitations and constraints of the internet, and the computer, have led to some innovations by individuals who want to get their point across. Rather than inspire sameness, the internet inspired creativity and ingenuity. It is even suggested that net speak mimics actual speech. Internet...
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