sMAartblog

Internet Changes to Language

Posted on: 18/01/2010

Since the first web browser appeared on computer screens in 1994, the Internet has radically changed global communication.  With instant access to messaging and email, the ability to circulate commentary and opinion has revolutionized the way people communicate.  This has had an affect on language and writing, but people still debate the scope of these changes, and whether or not they’re for the better.

Eleanor Johnson is a professor in the English and Comparative literature department at Columbia University who attributes a growing misuse of language to the explosion of electronic communication.

“I think that text messaging has made students believe that it’s far more acceptable than it actually is to just make screamingly atrocious spelling and grammatical errors,” she said.

Johnson says that her students, over the past several years, have increasingly used a more informal English vocabulary in formal assignments.  University-level research papers, she says, are now being peppered with casual phrases like “you know” and words like “guy” informal usages that were absent almost a decade ago.  She attributes the change to instant and casual communication.  She’s also seen an increase in incorrect word use, with students reaching for a word that sounds correct, whose proper meaning is just a bit off from what they intend to say.

Read more: http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/education/Experts-Divided-Over-Internet-Changes-to-Language-81898572.html

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