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December 20, 2012

Is English Changing Because Of The Web?

It's hard for us to even imagine life before the internet. The Web has changed everything about how we spend out time, shop and...

...how we communicate.

But have you wondered how the Web has changed how we use language?

One way is the sheer speed and scope of language usage. A word can be emerge, hit the web and, for better or worse, become commonplace within a few weeks.

As with most words, even before the internet, some words are helpful and useful, while some are not.

Atlantic magazine has compiled a list of what they consider the worst words of 2012. You can see the list here - http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2012/12/worst-words-2012/59909/.

I suggest that you take a good look at this list. Some words are offensive, some are redundant and some are just plain stupid. This list will give you a good sense of how words 'earn' their place in standard usage. One example is the word 'historic' (or historical). If every election, storm, natural disaster or pop star is 'historic', we have clearly lost track of what 'historic' really means.

And 'glocal'? Yes, that's one of the stupid ones.

Another area of change, thanks to the internet, is who has the ability to shape our language. Thanks to the internet, almost everyone has access to the technology to get their message out.

There are many repercussions of this development, but one is, in a world where non-native speakers outnumber native speakers, the language we all know as English, will be taking on aspects of the many cultures that use, and contribute to, the English language.

Here's an article that probes the dynamics of a global language shifting before our eyes - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20332763.

Let us know what links or other resources you find useful or encouraging. We are all learning and making new connections all the time and sharing makes our journey much richer.

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and unlikely and ridiculous situations. And if you want him to visit your school or program, you can contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at December 20, 2012 08:54 PM

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