Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Evolution of language

Do you think with the advent of the internet, mobile phones and the online communities that we are in the middle of a language evolution?

If you've read some of Shakespeares work you would have noticed the difference of sentence structure and use of words compared to the books written today. For example, in act 1 scene 1 of Hamlet, Bernardo says "'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco." You could interpret that sentence these days as "It's 12 o'clock, go to bed francisco." English has developed into the form it is today, sentences written 500 years ago would not be written the same today.

Now, however, is a different story. The new language form (I guess you could call it txt speak) is dispersing itself in every communication medium today. Mobile phones seem to have their very own set of rules where vowels are no longer written, but taken out of some word's completely. Where once you said "How was your Saturday night?" this is now (generally speaking) replaced by "Hw wz ur nyt on sat?" or "wat u get up 2 sat?

Online forums are now riddled with abbreviations and acronyms and such poor English that I'm sure any English lecturers who read them would weep themselves to sleep every night. For example eg: "WTF? BS HAX! LOL! IMHO, ROFFLEMAYO, AFAIK U SHULD RTFM"could actually be a proper sentence that people would understand these days. From the unmoderated forums that I've seen, grammar and spelling have taken a back seat in the communication process. (I noticed their are certain people who police this though, I think they're called the oh-so-politically-correct Grammar Nazis).If you don't know what half of those acronyms mean then maybe you've being left behind in this evolution process? Or maybe you are simply a technophobe, which would be weird considering you're taking this course.

Maybe the language is evolving to include all classes of the future? Centuries ago only the high class and wealthy became educated in the written language - as you can probably tell by the style of their writing. With the public school systems of the 20th century, most, if not all children had the opportunity to develop their written comprehension schools. Nowadays with the global reach of the internet and the new technoculture prevailant in online communities we are seeing a development of the language that is alot more relaxed on the technical aspects of form and has placed the majority of it's emphasis with only the content. Formal has taken a back seat to Informal, Strict rules to Casual ettiquette, etc etc.

Maybe this new language form is simply just a bombardment of slang from all over the globe and will simply dissolve itself into history? Im nt 2 sure.

4 Comments:

At 5:28 PM, Blogger mags said...

I think you are right that txt speak it an evolution of language - but i personally do not see it as if this evolution is a huge pervasive force which all are caught up in, but rather a strain or wing of language (and that being technological language) which is morphing to accomodate new technology or whatever. The use of technology to a level where by each and every person on this planet will comprehend txt speak is not a given - because people are caught up in technology at varying levels. I think a class of media/technocultre students like us could easily forget that many many people do not use new technology as often, or as in depth as we might, and that the 3rd world probably does not even have access to the majority of technology. So, while I see txt speak as an evolution of language, I see it within a certain group (or use) rather than an evolution on the whole. What do you reckon?

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger Spivey said...

I think it was a corprate inspired langauge, since we could only send so much, people had to restrict what they put, on top of that, not wanting to spend the time to type out every letter. With the advent of T9 langauge on phones/pdas and such i think we have see a reduction in IM speak, espically with the increase charecters allowed in TXT messages. (This limit is only going to get higher as new compression methods are created.) I think certian things like LOL and such are just hear to stay though, they have just been tacked on to our modern langauge, but i dont think they will replace the proper way. We dont talk in short talk after all. I dont know about you but i dont walk around saying "L O L, that was funny!" If anyone knows of comedy central they have stand up comics every friday, one of them being a guy named Doug Benson (http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/media_player/play.jhtml?itemId=11817) Who did a hilarious bit about his distaste of the short hand talk. He is kind of a raunchy dark comic, but it was a good bit none the less.

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Daniel Sadgrove said...

You're absolutely right mags. It probably won't engulf the entire world as you say, but you can see the reach and progression of the new short form in all facets of life now, even as far as academic institutes with "SIT2LRN" (Southland Institute Of Technology programme) on the Mercury Channel (Southland TV). I think the point I was trying to make was that new media have had a greater impact than just the technology they are inherent in, that the txt speak influence has branched further than just the media it was necessary for. I don't think we'll ever talk short form (although I did hear someone say lol once, which was weird) but with the txt speak language continually around us in different media forms it's hard to ignore it.

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I'd agree that such acronyms are an evolution of language. I would however suggest that the initiative towards removing vowels, and the phrases LOL, ROFL, ROFLMAO etc are originally from IRC chatrooms online.

TXTing is pushed towards this kind of shorthand by the difficulty of cycling through letters, but the online motivation was more simply that of speed.

You have people trying to get their point across during a Counterstrike match, or before someone else can get their point across.

There's even different subcategories, with TXT-speak being a bastard child of what I refer to as geek-speak and l33t-speak. And those who know what l33t means already know to what I refer.

 

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