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How Technology Is Shaping Language 173

An anonymous reader writes "This is an interesting article about how technology is shaping the English language, which touches on the fate of the current crop of (sometimes silly) tech-inspired words, and anticipates an increased blurring of the line between the written and spoken word. Professor David Crystal, honorary professor at the School of Linguistics and English Studies at the University of Bangor, says, 'This kind of ludicity [linguistic playfulness] is very attractive for a while. People keep it going and then it sort of falls out of use. Exactly how long it will go on for is unclear but it's like any game, any novelty, any linguistic novelty — I can't see it lasting. If you look back 10 years ago to the kind of clever-clever things that were going on in the 1990s — MUDs and MOOs — all the early game strategies and lots of very interesting language features coming up as people tried to develop a style of language that would suit the technology. Well, that technology's history now and the language has gone with it.'"
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How Technology Is Shaping Language

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  • Texting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @03:41PM (#38127636)

    Texting has probably contributed more to the degeneration of english than moos and muds.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:07PM (#38127966) Homepage Journal

    I dispute his claim that the terms are even English. They're slanguage* at best and more often mere craft jargon. To qualify as "English", it has to have sustained use, a definable meaning and exist outside limited subcultures. (Or it has to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. I'll accept that.)

    MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) is technically the name of a specific game engine, although it can also refer to any game engine of a similar ilk. It is a technical term. The same is true of MOOs, although actually only one gaming engine ever existed as far as I know (LambdaMOO).

    *Slanguage: Something that is more complete and concrete than slang but which cannot be defined as a language in its own right.

  • Re:Texting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:14PM (#38128062) Homepage Journal

    I have books (printed and handwritten) from both before and after the invention of the telegraph. The sample size is limited, but I can definitely say that English did deteriorate. In fairness, though, that's as much the educational system as the technology. By insisting on producing "marketable" people, it can never produce "capable" people.

    (Some people learn Computer Science away from the computer. They learn the theory, the logic, the reasoning, the methods and the actual science. Only then do they see how these relate to any given implementation of a computer or any given implementation of a language. These people are capable and a change in technology won't impact them in the slightest. Their skills will "just work" and their lingo will "just apply".)

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:32PM (#38128258) Journal
    I guess it depends on what you define as slang... I don't see why a word that originated as "slang" can't have a root. The "root" is simply the first known instance of it appearing in a written document. Who knows who the first person to actually coin the term was, and how prevalent its use was before someone wrote it down? I imagine many of the words we attribute to a particular author were actually in a regional use before they were first put into print.
  • Re:funy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:46PM (#38129284)

    vowels, spaces, and punctuation used to be left out of the printed word. They weren't part of the writing system. See old hebrew, egyption, etc. texts for examples. maybe we are just returning back to those times. Whtwldbwrngbttht?

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