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How Technology Is Shaping Language

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the tweets-are-for-birds dept.

Technology 173

An anonymous reader writes "This is an interesting article about how technology is shaping the English language, which touches on the fate of the current crop of (sometimes silly) tech-inspired words, and anticipates an increased blurring of the line between the written and spoken word. Professor David Crystal, honorary professor at the School of Linguistics and English Studies at the University of Bangor, says, 'This kind of ludicity [linguistic playfulness] is very attractive for a while. People keep it going and then it sort of falls out of use. Exactly how long it will go on for is unclear but it's like any game, any novelty, any linguistic novelty — I can't see it lasting. If you look back 10 years ago to the kind of clever-clever things that were going on in the 1990s — MUDs and MOOs — all the early game strategies and lots of very interesting language features coming up as people tried to develop a style of language that would suit the technology. Well, that technology's history now and the language has gone with it.'"

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173 comments

lusers (5, Funny)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127294)

f1r5t p05t

Re:lusers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127512)

Wait, MUDs are dead? Has Netcraft confirmed this?

Re:lusers (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127740)

f1r5t p05t

Ho ho.... ironically 1337 5p34k is an *excellent* example of a playful linguistic Internet fad that rose (it was everywhere a few years ago) and fell (how often do you see it now except in an occasional half-arsed "ironic" comment?)

I've said it before, but what (in hindsight) was its fairly rapid decline occurred around the time that mainstream newspaper articles explaining the phenomenom to every man and his dog started appearing- not a coincidence, I suspect. Many such phenomena rely on a mixture of geeky esotericness and fashion, and when some teenager's parents know all about it, it kills them both, along with such geeks' younger siblings wanting their *own* fads. This will probably explain- and predict- a major turnover of such phenomena.

Re:lusers (2)

adamanthaea (723150) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127990)

I used to have a tiny application that was a leet translator. Could translate into or out of leet with three varying degrees of complexity.

Re:lusers (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128990)

I used to have a tiny application that was a leet translator. Could translate into or out of leet with three varying degrees of complexity.

Does that make you more or less pathetic than the actual leet posters?

slashdot = stagnated (-1, Redundant)

MichaelKristopeit403 (1978294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127316)

slashdot = stagnated

Re:slashdot = stagnated (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127374)

Whereas MichaelKristopeit never fails to come up with something new and interesting to say.

Re:slashdot = stagnated (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit500 (2018072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127550)

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:slashdot = stagnated (1)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128556)

you _can_ post a comment without calling people ignorant, hypocrit, idot and/or pathetic just try it once else: try to learn some new curse words

WTF U TAKIG 'BOUT (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127472)

i dun no how teh tekknolog wurkz bit WHEn i huv it i speel nad talk lk ths111

Re:WTF U TAKIG 'BOUT (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127566)

you're an idiot.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen frozen water party goer based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:WTF U TAKIG 'BOUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128146)

lol,where is Dr. Bob? I hear that subluxations are great for losing the massive amount of weight that a shit stain like you has to lose.

MichaelKristopeit = troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128432)

MichaelKristopeit = troll

At least he isn't a patent troll.

10 years ago = 90s? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127394)

Pretty aure thats the early 2000s ... and mud and moo were already deprecated

reinventing wheel (1)

leaen (987954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127418)

I guess I seen similar article year ago at slashdot
As I remember it had examples what train did.
Be on right track
streamlining
...

MUDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127438)

e;e;s;s;s;s;w;stab Cry;flee

Re:MUDs (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127606)

e;e;s;s;s;s;w;stab Cry;flee

You yellow backstabbing anonymous coward.

weild thor;scan
e;hammer ac
sac corpse

I loooooove analingus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127470)

It happened when I was 19, a guy I met a guy in my College library took to his dorm and turned me around having pulled pants down. I figured he wanted to eat me doggystyle, when he stuck his tongue up my anus...

7 years later and more than 30 partners of all shades; half of whom have performed analingus on me, has me thinking its perhaps the new cunnilingus and 10 years time it will be part of foreplay.

PS: I return the favour.

Your thoughts.

Re:I loooooove analingus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127666)

If I won't lick her ass, she's not worth any effort.

I appreciate reciprocity there.

funy (5, Funny)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127474)

i alwys thot tht tech had a negggative impakt on engrish... silly mee :) lolzorz

Re:funy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127540)

Oh god, even though it is joking, it hurts my brain to see people typing like this all the time.
I was hoping Britain would have got over such silly txt speak, but then along came Twitter with 140 character limits, bringing illiteracy to even more people.

Pretty soon, we'll be abbreviating entire words to letter+number combinations...

Re:funy (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127662)

.

Pretty soon, we'll be abbreviating entire words to letter+number combinations...

now nt l8r, if ur l33t!

Re:funy (2)

Needlzor (1197267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128682)

Using abbreviations to save time or express words phonetically is as old as the Romans and the ancient Greeks, it has nothing to do with twitter.

Re:funy (4, Interesting)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129284)

vowels, spaces, and punctuation used to be left out of the printed word. They weren't part of the writing system. See old hebrew, egyption, etc. texts for examples. maybe we are just returning back to those times. Whtwldbwrngbttht?

Re:funy (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129118)

Since y2k, i18n reqires Eropeans to drop that extra "u" that they keep stfing in English words like labor and color. Some of them have been droping al "u"s, and double consonants (just to show those Americans a thing or two), which leads to fny looking sentences. Maybe this is where al these problems started?

Re:funy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129720)

"All your base are belong to us"

Language changes, get over it (1, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127478)

Why would a linguist of all people have such a romantic attachment to the idea of an unchanging English language?

Only dead languages don't change, and that's NOT a good sign for your culture. I have no desire to see English go the way of Latin, and certainly don't want to see the political collapse that would be necessary for that to happen.

Re:Language changes, get over it (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127542)

What gave you the impression that he wanted an unchanging English Language? I didn't see him expressing an opinion one way or the other - just explaining how these things come and go.

Re:Language changes, get over it (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127966)

I dispute his claim that the terms are even English. They're slanguage* at best and more often mere craft jargon. To qualify as "English", it has to have sustained use, a definable meaning and exist outside limited subcultures. (Or it has to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. I'll accept that.)

MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) is technically the name of a specific game engine, although it can also refer to any game engine of a similar ilk. It is a technical term. The same is true of MOOs, although actually only one gaming engine ever existed as far as I know (LambdaMOO).

*Slanguage: Something that is more complete and concrete than slang but which cannot be defined as a language in its own right.

Re:Language changes, get over it (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128034)

I think you'd be shocked how much of our language comes originally from slang or bastardization.

Re:Language changes, get over it (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128138)

Prepare to shock me. :)

I'm serious. There aren't many words that originated with slang. Bastardization, perhaps, but even there I don't think it's as common as you think. However, there's an easy way to settle this. There are plenty of online etymology dictionaries. Can you give me a few examples of words where said dictionaries show the word to have been coined and to have no roots? (Because things get increasingly uncertain as you go back in time, let's set the 12th century as a cutoff point.)

Re:Language changes, get over it (3, Interesting)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128258)

I guess it depends on what you define as slang... I don't see why a word that originated as "slang" can't have a root. The "root" is simply the first known instance of it appearing in a written document. Who knows who the first person to actually coin the term was, and how prevalent its use was before someone wrote it down? I imagine many of the words we attribute to a particular author were actually in a regional use before they were first put into print.

Re:Language changes, get over it (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128614)

Or it has to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. I'll accept that.

Webster's a little short for ya?

Re:Language changes, get over it (1)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129510)

Or it has to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary. I'll accept that.

Webster's a little short for ya?

I used to love that show - what ever happened to Emanuel Lewis?

Re:Language changes, get over it (3, Informative)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128142)

Why would a linguist of all people have such a romantic attachment to the idea of an unchanging English language?

"For a linguist like me, this is very exciting but for your average pedant this is horrifying."

I didn't really see anything in the article indicating he desired an unchanging English language or even particularly critical of the changes he's observing.

Re:Language changes, get over it (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128786)

Why would a linguist of all people have such a romantic attachment to the idea of an unchanging English language?

He found ceiling cat?

"John haz sum revelashunz. Tehy frum teh Happycat, but wuz furst frum Ceiling Cat, an tehy to show what iz comin. Teh Ceiling Cat sended hiz angel to John to give revelashunz." revelashunz 1:1

Re:Language changes, get over it (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129540)

If you think he's got a romantic attachment to the idea of an unchanging English, may I suggest his book "The Stories of English", which relates the changing story (stories, since language diverges both geographically and demographically) of English from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.

.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

No editors == linguistic variation (4, Informative)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127530)

Basically, before, you used to have editors who'd mold everything into U Chicago style guidelines or some such.

Now, everybody is his own editor. Is it web server or webserver? Web site or website? You decide.

You'll probably also see stuff where editors once had their fingers in the dike (like preventing the spread of "snuck [wsu.edu]") deluge the linguistic landscape.

Also people are free to verb nouns as they please.

Finally, I've noticed people are a lot more comfortable spontaneously making up portmanteaus [wikipedia.org].

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127820)

Q: does this also extend to kids names? It's trendy to nayhme (name) kids with obvious misspellings and variations - some so obscure they are hard to recognize (gryffwd is one that comes to mind). In the future you will have to ask how to spell everyone's name because of the prevalence of variation.

Is this just a sign if the future with a preference 4da mizspelin (for the misspelling)? I have to wonder.

AC

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (5, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127906)

I named my last kid Kevin8992 so he could get his actual name on his email.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128018)

He won't have access to email after he is in prison for killing you for naming him that.

If you would have only named him Kevin_8992 your future self would still be alive.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127972)

zero google results, so i have a hard time believing gryffwd isn't something you just made up.

also, coming up with new names or spelling variations isn't some new trend.. shakespeare is credited with the first use of the name jessica, ffs.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128320)

Wait, so you're saying that as literacy rates across the world have increased (say, since the 1800s), misspelling of names has increased as well? I have a hard time believing that. Besides, if, as you say,

It's trendy to nayhme (name) kids with obvious misspellings and variations

, then the misspelling is intentional, and it is not, in fact, an error. It's just a new name (which in all likelihood is probably not actually new, just rare).

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129264)

Even without new spellings, there are plenty of names with long-standing variations just within the traditional English spelling (Katherine/Catherine, for instance) or virtually-identical forms with origins in different languages (Jacob/Jakob). And that's before getting into nicknames. (Going back to the first example: Katie/Katy, or Kathy/Cathy, or Kate/Cate.)

Migration is the obvious explanation for mixing things up, but it occurs to me that large-scale shared culture also contributes: If you know several people named Steven but no one named Stephen, you'll only think of the first variation. If you start reading Stephen King, then you're exposed to the other spelling even if no one named Stephen moves to town.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128336)

No, it doesn't extend to the kids name. Or rather: It only extends to the kids name because the language has a complete difference between spelling and saying. If English was a perfect phonetical language with words being written as they was spoken, and spoken as they was written, the trend would die and be replaced by adding multiple names.
"Odd Even Ragnar Jack"

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128408)

If you ever have the opportunity to work with anyone outside the US, you'll quickly learn that you have to ask how to spell everyone's name anyway.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128210)

Part of the deal there is that there hasn't been much understanding or respect given to language variety historically. To some extent it's just a continuation of previous forms of bigotry wherein people are judged for things of lesser significance.

Which is unfortunate given that such prescriptivist rules just lead to a dull language which isn't capable of keeping up with the demands of communication. Language is for use and the use that people have for it is communication. Despite what some people around here might think language works so long as the message is received accurately and efficiently, that's it. Spelling loose as in "I need to loose a few pounds" is ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things and not a valid reason for grammar based bullying.

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (1)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128376)

Also people are free to verb nouns as they please.

I see what you did there... Clever...

Re:No editors == linguistic variation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128486)

Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q51ld-scMI8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

and we paid how much for this drivel? (1)

cedrick12 (1734910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127532)

A big DUH to the authors/article! A reseach article from long, long ago..... UG: too many new words! "Spear", what was wrong with pointy stick? Yog: "tell me about it, I'm still trying to figure out 'fire'!"

Re:and we paid how much for this drivel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128044)

TFA is a real 404

Re:and we paid how much for this drivel? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128238)

The problem with it is a that a spear isn't a pointy stick, it was a specific kind of pointy stick. More than that, spears were upgraded and refined and before too long they were more than just a pointy stick. They would be a stick with a piece of rock, or a bronze head; at which point they were no longer pointy sticks at all.

The Jargon File (5, Informative)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127534)

It would have been nice to include a little deeper history in this article, like maybe talking about the Jargon File [catb.org], the dictionary for old school hackers that's filled with fascinating history about the technology and innovations behind some of the terms we still use online today.

Or would that detract from the idea that cultural-shifts resulting in lexical shifts is some kind of totally new and unexpected phenomenon?

Re:The Jargon File (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127582)

D'oh... Just saw that the /. summary made such an historical reference with MUDs, etc... My complaint was about the article...

Re:The Jargon File (5, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127624)

Waitwaitwaitwaitwait

You read the article, but not the summary?

Everything I know about /. is now a lie.

Re:The Jargon File (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127950)

Even the cake?

Yes yes, I only got round to playing it recently. I *am* the xkcd guy right now. Please accept my humble apologies.

Texting (2, Interesting)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127636)

Texting has probably contributed more to the degeneration of english than moos and muds.

Re:Texting (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127756)

Had you lived 150 years ago, you would have said the same about telegraphese

Re:Texting (2)

goldspider (445116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128006)

Had you lived 150 years ago, you would have said the same about telegraphese

*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*
*dash* *dash* *dash*
*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*

Re:Texting (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128756)

Had you lived 150 years ago, you would have said the same about telegraphese

*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*
*dash* *dash* *dash*
*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*

You've totally misunderstood him. Full stop.

Re:Texting (3, Funny)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129458)

Had you lived 150 years ago, you would have said the same about telegraphese

*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*
*dash* *dash* *dash*
*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot*

You've totally misunderstood him. Full stop.

*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot* = L
*dash* *dash* *dash* = O
*dot* *dash* *dot* *dot* = L

Not that I've heard of it being used in Morse much. But it's funny when my (older) ham radio friends send text messages to their kids asking"QTH? QRX 1 HR" and get "????" in response.

Re:Texting (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128062)

I have books (printed and handwritten) from both before and after the invention of the telegraph. The sample size is limited, but I can definitely say that English did deteriorate. In fairness, though, that's as much the educational system as the technology. By insisting on producing "marketable" people, it can never produce "capable" people.

(Some people learn Computer Science away from the computer. They learn the theory, the logic, the reasoning, the methods and the actual science. Only then do they see how these relate to any given implementation of a computer or any given implementation of a language. These people are capable and a change in technology won't impact them in the slightest. Their skills will "just work" and their lingo will "just apply".)

Re:Texting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128776)

Was it the invention of the telegraph or more common people learning to read and write that had an effect? Didn't they happen around similar timelines?

Re:Texting (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128898)

Some people learn Computer Science away from the computer. They learn the theory, the logic, the reasoning, the methods and the actual science. Only then do they see how these relate to any given implementation of a computer or any given implementation of a language. These people are capable and a change in technology won't impact them in the slightest. Their skills will "just work" and their lingo will "just apply".

I usually want to agree with statements like this, until I remember my CS Prof who slid one of those business-card shaped CD-ROMs into a slot-loading CD drive. There needs to be a little practical application once in a while.

Re:Texting (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128920)

Please elaborate on what 'deteriorate' means in a language? Language is not fixed. It changes. When I hear about language deteriorating, what I see is change.
Old rules out, new rulez in It is change, not deterioration.

m3th1nks (2)

amalek (615708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127688)

There is no issue with "textspeak" or anything like that. A good command of a language is needed in order to convey meaning in an abbreviated manner.

The only problem is where the literacy level of the individual is low enough that they'll use this format in other forms of communication which don't necessarily require such heavy brevity. It's not Twitter's fault, or phone networks who limit SMS characters. It's education, pure and simple.

Who is this guy? (2)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127712)

Well, that technology's history now and the language has gone with it.

Yes, because things like "LOL" and "WTF" have disappeared from the lexicon.

On wait, no they haven't. Turns out this guy is wrong on all counts. The technology is still here, and has in fact spread, and the language it has inspired is not gone, and has in fact spread.

To pull out a fact like, less than 10% of text messages contain LOL-speak like abbreviations does not mean that will not be a lasting part of the language, it just means it's not a new language. What percentage of text messages contain 'yacht' or some other word pertaining to watercraft? If it's less than 10%, does that mean those words are not part of the language?

The article and research it's based on sound more like an undergraduate paper than mature research. Where are the comparisons to the telegraph and telephone? This is not the first time technology has changed the way we communicate and the language we use.

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127886)

The technology is still here, and has in fact spread, and the language it has inspired is not gone, and has in fact spread.

MOOs and MUDs may still be here but it's a tough argument to say they've spread - unless you mean their descendants MMOs.

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38128016)

Some of the abbreviations, like WTF, are merely widely used now. I remember my dad marking up reports from work with it at least a decade before the WWW was starting to spread.

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128082)

If you read the article..... You'll see that he points to LOL and such as having staying power whereas the argot from the MOOs and MUDs and MUSHs has fallen by the wayside. Frankly, not too surprising. Those were frequented by quite a small minority of (very vocal) computer users. I'm a bit surprised tho that this guy doesn't mention that the way constructions like yr and sd and l8r were prevalent in Modernist and early postmodernist poetry. Creeley for example.

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128878)

Well, that technology's history now and the language has gone with it.

Yes, because things like "LOL" and "WTF" have disappeared from the lexicon.

On wait, no they haven't. Turns out this guy is wrong on all counts. The technology is still here, and has in fact spread, and the language it has inspired is not gone, and has in fact spread.

Agreed. Only a luddite or linguistic saboteur would insist that technological change has no enduring impact on the English language. I'd suggest they'd gone completely off the rails and that they should shift gears and accept that technological jargon is always on the linguistic radar. Perhaps a mental reboot is called for....

Re:Who is this guy? (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129144)

Miss the point much? It's like companies throwing truckloads of patents at competitors, hoping something will stick. LOL and WTF and some of its brothers may have remained, but at the height of each such fad, such coined words number in the hundreds, if not thousands. What happened to the rest of them? Fell by the wayside. Just think about it. LOL and WF have retained their meanings. But will 'tweet' retain its meaning of post to Twitter 20 years from now when Twitter's no longer around? You want an example of a fad - sticking 'like' where it's not needed. You know, like, when kids say things. Few adults retain it. As time passes, something else will become more cool. And then you won't find like to be the most popular word of the English language anymore.

Re:Who is this guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129656)

What percentage of text messages contain 'yacht' or some other word pertaining to watercraft? If it's less than 10%, does that mean those words are not part of the language?

i believe that depends on if they're sampling the 1% or the 99%....

Erosion is Shaping (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127894)

What I have observed in the past decades is an erosion of language comprehension; a marker is the trend (as I observe it) towards time consuming video tutorials.

CC.

Re:Erosion is Shaping (2)

icebrain (944107) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128340)

I wouldn't say an explosion of "time consuming video tutorials" is a sign of eroding language skills at all. No matter whether you're trying to teach someone abstract physics, equipment maintenance, or anything else, the majority of people find such instruction much easier to understand when it is accompanied by some kind of visual aid. Seeing a picture of something aids comprehension; seeing a video or live presentation can help even more.

Further, it is often much simpler (and more importantly, faster) just to demonstrate something than to sit down and type out a lengthy explanation. I can set up a camera, do a video tutorial, and upload it to youtube in less time than it would take me to document the same process in text and pictures.

Overall, the trend towards more video in place of text has more to do with the easy availability of video capturing and editing equipment, and available bandwidth, than any failure of language skills.

"Anticipates an increased blurring" (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127922)

Of course, an example of one of the ways language is moving is the word "anticipates" itself. From the Latin meaning "to take before", it originally meant "to foresee and prepare (for) in advance"; it's now been made a synonym for "predicts" or "expects", without the presumption of any action being taken in advance. My theory is that people originally wanted to use the word "expects," but were afraid of confusing this with its near-homonym "aspects," so they avoided both words and found a slight misuse of "anticipates" more comforting.

Of course, this has happened so many times that the original meaning is now a minor usage, and will probably disappear within a generation.

This article is very Nebulous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127980)

I don't have the bandwidth to read it all. ;)

You have to do /something/ with all these doodads (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128014)

So we name them (sometimes from their marketing terms) and then we verb them.

"Verbing weirds language" but it works for the time being, and then it gets accepted through repeated use or misuse.

I think we lost when I found "irregardless" in the dictionary.

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.[5]

- James D. Nicoll

And...

"Getting upset about marketing speak is like getting upset about the finer points of pig Latin."

- Christiana Ellis

Jeg opgiv.

--
BMO

Re:You have to do /something/ with all these dooda (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129678)

James D. Nicoll...awesome quote. And I expect he is right--I can't think of any at the moment, but I'm sure that the usage of a borrowed word in English has managed to change its meaning in its original language, which would seem to be the literal equivalent of what he is talking about.

Not just adding terms (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128346)

Technology isn't just adding new terms to the language, it's also changing, and in some cases erasing, idioms that already exist. Take for example the phrase, "you sound like a broken record". How many people under the age of 25 even know what a broken record sounds like? As time goes on I expect that phrase to become increasingly rare, and to be replaced by a similar phrase, thus completing the circle of life :P

Re:Not just adding terms (2)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128714)

Technology isn't just adding new terms to the language, it's also changing, and in some cases erasing, idioms that already exist. Take for example the phrase, "you sound like a broken record". How many people under the age of 25 even know what a broken record sounds like? As time goes on I expect that phrase to become increasingly rare, and to be replaced by a similar phrase, thus completing the circle of life :P

Maybe, maybe not. People still talk about putting the cart before the horse, but I'd bet most Americans don't have personal experience with horse-drawn carts. Never mind making silk purses out of sow's ears. "Broken record" might fall out of favor, or it might linger on like "the quick and the dead" (pretty much the only place in modern English where "quick" still means alive instead of fast).

Hmm, do TV commercials still say "Don't touch that dial!"?

Re:Not just adding terms (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128864)

Well, I've never heard of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but putting the cart before the horse probably stayed alive because it's quite easy to visualize. However if you have never heard a record before then you would have no idea that a "broken record" repeats continuously, and thus the phrase is likely to go away as time goes on.

Re:Not just adding terms (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38130118)

"the quick and the dead" (pretty much the only place in modern English where "quick" still means alive instead of fast).

You've cut me to the quick with that remark.

Re:Not just adding terms (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129044)

Technology isn't just adding new terms to the language, it's also changing, and in some cases erasing, idioms that already exist. Take for example the phrase, "you sound like a broken record". How many people under the age of 25 even know what a broken record sounds like? As time goes on I expect that phrase to become increasingly rare, and to be replaced by a similar phrase, thus completing the circle of life :P

I think language is more arbitrary and unpredictable than that.

We still 'dial' a number, and our phones still 'ring', even though the actual dials and bells haven't been around for a generation. We still drop someone a line, even though operated-assisted calling hasn't been necessary for longer than this old grey-hair has been alive. We still go full steam ahead even though ships haven't burned coal for over a century. And people are still POSH centuries after 'Port Outward, Starboard Home' lost its original meaning.

Some phrases do drop out of currency, but others, for reasons too complex to fathom, seem to endure for centuries. Envy, for example, has been 'green' since Elizabethan times. Beautiful women have been compared to the sun since the Italian Renaissance. And ass-kissing has been around since Chaucer's time.

Re:Not just adding terms (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129490)

Thank you - you came up with much better examples than I did.

On a related note, I wonder how long we'll keep using pictures of floppy disks as the toolbar icon for "save."

Re:Not just adding terms (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129574)

Sometimes old things are brought back, wrongly.

Old English had the letter thorn [wikipedia.org]. This letter looks a little like a "Y", although it was pronounced as "th". It was sorta brought back, with added extra letters to "look old", and used by stores like "Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe".

Difference between 90's and present (1)

somename (1139943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128950)

Up to mid to late 90's, most of the internet users were mostly confined to members of academia, and the language used in internet forums were mostly kept as a particular vernacular used for net separate from their written or spoken language. Now, the internet use is ubiquitous, and I do believe there definitely is a blurring of written and spoken language especially for the younger population. Obviously, it's only natural for a language to change especially in the face of entirely new medium of communication that's used by the population at large, and I do find it fairly interesting to see the new form of written language developing from verbal language. As a personal rant, I find it a bit annoying that more and more people are completely disregarding spelling and grammar altogether. For a lot of people, texting and messaging are only forms of writing they do, and I kind of wish people put a bit more thought into their inputs at least in the internet forums. After all, writing in the internet forums is still a form of public speaking, and there should be some value in trying to accurately represent what you're trying to communicate. In that sense, I do miss the usenet of old. In a any given group, there were fairly informed representative of the topic, and the exchanges were usually thoughtful and relatively noise free. Even the flame wars were mostly entertaining. Of course, there's definite value in the sheer increase in the number of inputs, and I do think the changes in internet culture is mostly better and entirely inevitable. Still, porn just isn't the same without TIN and uudecode. I had to do a little work to see some boobies. Damn kids nowadays...

Like, Adverbs are so yesterday dude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129824)

That's what changing English will do for you, a death of a whole part of speech: the adverb.
If you don't what I'm talking about, well, then, you're not really paying attention to how people
speak and even write these days.

tl;dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38129838)

For example, tl;dr

Aggro away (1)

tsiene (1649895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129986)

Hi Slashdot. I've been an avid MUDder for over 10 years now, spent the last several working on my own game that has recently launched. I'd like to weigh in a tick on this 'obsolete language' argument. True, MUDs are not as widespread as a number of other internet games, but they predate them and the lexicon has had a profound influence... on MMO's especially. Mobs, Aggro, Buff, Nerf, Crit, Corpse run, all of these are familiar MUD terms that the MMO'ers of today use as a comfortable (and yes, noob-gateway) language. 30+years and still going on strong. Hep cat, it's the bee's knees like pop in an icebox, dig?

Shameless self-promotion of a dying hobby - if you like MUDs, D&D (2nd edition), or role-playing games, come check us out!
Arantha - The Realms of Valor
www.arantha.net
telnet arantha.net port 4000
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