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Texting and technology

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The myth of English as the language of the digital age. Choosing the right ‘internet parlance’ reduces the chance of messages getting lost in translation and delivers involved audiences who happily share their voice.

The myth of English as the language of the digital age

Ever since the internet was invented, English has been considered the language in which to converse and engage with audiences. This popularly held view is undoubtedly due to a number of factors, not least of which would be search engine bias and the fact that in its formative years, English did indeed dominate the internet with some reports suggesting that in 1998 as much as 75% of all internet content was in English. But, as much as we like to pretend that 1998 was just a few years ago, the reality in the digital age is that it is akin to being almost centuries ago… pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter and pre-iPhone. Jeez, it was so long ago it was almost before the era of the mobile phone.

Texting is “miraculous”: 6 ways we are redefining communication. John McWhorter asks us to think of texting less as “written language” and more as “fingered speech.”

Texting is “miraculous”: 6 ways we are redefining communication

Photo: James Duncan Davidson Texting is not a blight on the English language, says linguist John McWhorter in today’s talk, given at TED2013. Rather, texting is a “miraculous thing”: a novel linguistic mode that’s redefining the way we communicate with each other — for the better. John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. David Crystal - Texts and Tweets: myths and realities. Emoticons and symbols aren't ruining language – they're revolutionizing it. Txt msgs r running language *ruining.

Emoticons and symbols aren't ruining language – they're revolutionizing it

Textspeak is Streamlining Language. Not Ruining it. Txt msgs r running language *ruining ^lol, jk!!

Textspeak is Streamlining Language. Not Ruining it.

:) Txting is for people who can’t spell, write? Wrong. I arrived all right about 4 oclock hope you are all right grand wether We’re all familiar with the impact that the internet and text messaging is having on our ability to write properly.

Txting is for people who can’t spell, write? Wrong

In this message, we can see the misspelling of “weather”, as well as a missing apostrophe in “oclock”. We can also see two run-on sentences – there should really be a full stop after “oclock” and “hope” should be the start of a new sentence. Nor is there a full stop at the end of the message. I am trying to trick you. Researchers from Coventry University set out to investigate whether there is any correlation between the use of what they call “textisms” and poor spelling and reading skills. David Crystal - How is the internet changing language today? The Guardian’s style guide editor on … putting the fears around texting into historical context.

There’s a song called My KZ, Ur BF by the band Everything Everything, and I love everything about it, not least because it illustrates how text messaging – once dismissed as “penmanship for illiterates” in, sad to say, the Guardian – can be elevated to an art form.

The Guardian’s style guide editor on … putting the fears around texting into historical context

If you have ever been to a party, and if you know that “KZ” and “BF” are abbreviations of keys and boyfriend, then you already have a story from the song title – in just a few characters and spaces – that you can take wherever your imagination chooses to go. But “KZ” is also short for “kill zone”, and Everything Everything embark on a tour of destruction and chaos, perhaps caused by a terrorist attack, a complex, disturbing tour de force that ends with the compelling line: “It’s like we’re sitting with our parachutes on, but the airport’s gone.” A few years ago John Humphrys was warning in the Daily Mail, rather less eloquently: Mary had a mobile, she texted day and night. Is the internet killing off language? The internet is changing the way we communicate.

Is the internet killing off language?

LOL, awks, amazeballs, BRB, the use of emoji and emoticon – and even writing facial expressions such as 'sad face' – have all become standard in digital communications. So ingrained, in fact, that they're changing the way we write and even talk. "People are becoming less concerned with grammar, spelling and sentence structure, and more concerned with getting their message across," says Gavin Hammar, CEO and founder of Sendible, a UK-based social media dashboard for business. There's no doubt that the consumption of abbreviated digital content is having a huge effect on language. "Over the last five years attention spans have shortened considerably, which is reflected in the contracted forms of language we see in social media," says Robin Kermode, founder of communications coaching consultancy Zone2 and author of the book 'Speak So Your Audience Will Listen: A practical guide for anyone who has to speak to another human being'.

Text-speak: language evolution or just laziness? Death of the English Language  It started out innocently enough with text messaging.

Death of the English Language 

Suddenly, we all started to LOL with our BFF. We politely alerted people when we were AFK by announcing BRB. When asked, we IMO told people what we were thinking (yes, that haircut was a bad idea), and when someone ticked us off (which they inevitably do) we declared in our most exasperated way of typing WTF! Then, this insidious habit of abbreviating everything started creeping into our spoken word. Suddenly things were just "gorg," teenagers thought your nagging was just "whatevs," and that gift you got for your birthday was "amaze!

" Viewpoint: Why do tech neologisms make people angry? The bewildering stream of new words to describe technology and its uses makes many people angry, but there's much to celebrate, writes Tom Chatfield.

Viewpoint: Why do tech neologisms make people angry?

From agriculture to automobiles to autocorrect, new things have always required new words - and new words have always aroused strong feelings. In the 16th Century, neologisms "smelling too much of the Latin" - as the poet Richard Willes put it - were frowned upon by many. LOL if you must, but the internet is actually making English better - Quartz. The internet is positively amazeballs.

LOL if you must, but the internet is actually making English better - Quartz

But the unedited, character-limited way we communicate on the web and mobile is often blamed for ruining the purity of language, English or otherwise. What hope is there for future literary greats when wacky internet terms like “adorbs” and “LOL” make it into the most revered dictionaries? Is the internet destroying the foundations of language? The answer is no. To see why, just watch English 3.0, a new documentary by the London-based filmmaker Joe Gilbert. Here’s the full, 21-minute documentary: English 3.0. No more LOLs: 50% of Facebook users prefer 'haha' Still using LOL to express laughter digitally? Ha, that’s so old. According to a new study carried out by Facebook, 51% of us express our laughter on the social network with a simple “haha”.

The US-wide study, entitled The Not-So-Universal Language of Laughter, and conducted in response to a New Yorker article on the subject of “e-laughter”, has collated data on the way de-identified users express mirth. The results are broken down by age, gender and location.