Oh, here’s an article I read the other day I keep meaning to share: “Is Language Dead or Evolving?” It has the best first line I’ve seen in a while:
“Doomsday grammarians are not in the mood to LOL.”
We’ve covered this topic before on MRP but it’s always interesting to hear what the harbingers of the Four Grammarians of the Apostrophocalypse are up to these days. This article explores a study that disputes another study that says that language is going to hell in a handbasket because of txt-speak.
A growing body of research shows electronic communications channels like instant messaging have created a kind of semi-speech – language that is between talking and writing. Some say it is evidence of evolution, not of decay.
“Languages are always changing, and that’s a fact that language snobs need to get over and accept – because the only language that doesn’t change is a dead language, like Latin,” said Derek Denis, a graduate student in linguistics at the University of Toronto. This spring, he coauthored a study comparing the way teens speak and chat online. It was published in the journal American Speech.
Denis’s study, “Linguistic Ruin? LOL! Instant Messaging and Teen Language,” followed the online and spoken conversations of 71 Canadian teens over three years, tracking about one million IM words and 250,000 spoken words.
Contrary to the view that abbreviations and cute emoticons are at the radical edge of English language, the researchers found that the hybrid of written and spoken language is actually more conservative than speech alone.