Has the internet changed the way we use language?
With how integral to our lives the internet has now become, it’s hard to believe it’s been around less than 30 years.
Going digital has been transformative; there’s scarcely an aspect of life it hasn’t impacted. It’s changed the way we work, make appointments, hail taxis, shop, the way we learn, the way we get news and the way we connect with others, just to name a few.
The internet has also changed how we communicate – instead of writing letters, we email. Instead of phone calls, young people now prefer to text message.
It’s also impacting the way we use language. Information can be shared instantaneously, and because of this, people adopt slang and short-form in new and interesting ways.
In 2018 alone, the Oxford English Dictionary has added a range of new words, including terms like me time (denotes taking a moment for yourself), hangry (so hungry you become irritable), and mansplaining (referring to a situation where a man explains something to a woman in a way that’s condescending).
Some other words have simply been updated. In addition to its literal meaning, snowflake can also now denote a person with an inflated sense of uniqueness.
Language is always evolving – Shakespeare, for example, is credited with inventing over 1,000 words in his lifetime.
But we could argue the internet has had a more lasting impact, permanently altering the way we speak in way that would have been unfathomable a generation before.
What do you think? Has the internet changed the way we use language? And is this change for the better? Or is something lost with the informal way we now communicate? Share your views at Speaker’s Corner.
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