Is Language Evolving Because of the Internet?
Things change quickly, never more so than now, as we live in a golden age of internet connectivity and easily accessible information. The speed in which we can think of, search and find information is staggering and very easy to take for granted when it has been around for over two decades. Due to these advancements, we find ourselves in a world that demands speed in everything we do, including how we converse with one another. But how has this impacted language in general?
Well, in written form, ever since text speak rose from the days of brick-like mobile devices in the 90s, we have used speedy, instant responses to our advantage and adjusted the way we portray a message. The rise of emojis is proof of how a new language can catch on very quickly when implemented into everyday process, i.e. the rise of smartphones.
Is Informal Language a Hindrance?
The last decade or so has seen a dramatic change in the way we speak, with acronyms and hybrid words appearing within a blink of an eye within people’s everyday speech e.g. someone saying LOL instead of the words (or actually laughing!). But has informal internet speech created a wider problem or a solution?
“Language is humanity’s most spectacular open-source project,” says linguist Gretchen McCulloch, “I mean, fashion can change, why can’t language?”. This is exactly why, rather than looking at the informal changes to language as a bad thing, seeing it instead as a steady evolution, is the best approach to take. In her new book, ‘Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language’, Gretchen asks the question “Why do you talk the way you do?” This simple question makes you think about language as a whole; it has always been evolving.
Positive Language Evolution
Rather than seeing informal language as a negative change or just a slang trend, anything that inspires people and makes communication easier, such as using Gifs or emojis to express yourself, is surely a positive step.