Folium: How the Internet Is Changing the English Language via DailyDot

Folium: How the Internet Is Changing the English Language via DailyDot

Folium: How the Internet Is Changing the English Language via DailyDot


No matter if you speak English, French, Spanish, or another language, the internet can be a dark place for language lovers. If you have ever delved into any of the popular websites, you may have noticed that the words you know and love and use on a daily basis are being lazily thrown around. Some words may even be seen as an entirely new term, having a similar meaning, but lacking their linguistic integrity. With the emergence of personal blogs and long written posts on social media, some words are no longer words at all, but acronyms such as “laugh out loud” becoming “lol”, or words like  “because” shortened, becoming “bc”. 

Do you know how the internet really talks?

ed. “Do you know how the internet really talks? (Do we really want to know…?)”

This isn’t just happening in the English language, but in Spanish as well. Instead of writing out in its entirety “te quiero mucho” most native spanish speakers will type out “tqm” instead.  Some words have been shortened to only one letter such as the adverb “very” that simply becomes “v” in an adjective phrase; i.e. “that is v cool.” Capital letters are largely dispensed with EMPHASIS; punctuation became noticeable by its absence; hashtags are used mostly for irony (#crazy). Not sure if I would call it linguistic innovation or destruction, but the fact of the matter is, there’s no going back.

Yeah, but can you text in Spanish?

Now… In Spanish!

Now that people are communicating in written form more than ever before, efficient emoticons and acronyms have become mainstream. Communication has evolved in a way that even those who aren’t adequately acquainted with the English language, stand a chance at communicating with native-English speakers. Though, the majority of the people who write English content on the internet are not native speakers. This makes the internet a great place for non-native English speakers because nobody cares about their foreign accent or spelling mistakes. Who knew the internet would be such a great place to learn a new language!

“I realized within myself I have different ways of conducting myself on those places (Tumblr, Twitter, IRC, and Reddit),” Rugnetta said in a phone interview. Or, as he puts it in his video, “Maybe I talk more ‘Tumblrish’ on Tumblr and less ‘Twitterese’ on Facebook.” DailyDot

It’s thought these changes could be the death knell for trickier and non-essential parts of English, such as the use of “whom” (which native speakers rarely master anyway). The changes in the common words and phrases that we know and love aren’t permanent either. Language is constantly changing. The next thing you know we’ll be using simply one letter to represent an entire sentence and it will be a guessing game as to what someone is actually trying to say.

ed. “Are you fluent in the various internet dialects?”

Whilst the internet is an incredible place for communication and language, where communities on a global scale forge their own languages, its practices cannot be expanded into everyday business and documentation. The changes in the language thanks to the internet raises a question in my mind. What happens to all of the language that is necessary for non-internet use? How is “lol” or “idk” doing to be practical for everyday business and documentation? It’s not. Plain and simple. I can’t imagine going to a courthouse to sign legal documentation written all in acronyms.

“What emerged was an archipelago of e-dialects that mirrored the geographical and cultural divisions of the physical country. For example, the abbreviation ikr (“I know, right?”) occurs six times as often in Detroit as in the rest of the United States; suttin (“something”) mostly occurs in New York City; the emoticon ^-^, which denotes shyness, occurs four times more frequently in Southern California, where a large Korean community may have propelled it into the lexicon.” – DailyDot

Knowing this internet dialect can set you apart from everyone else if you aren’t familiar with it. Cynthia says in the article, “Sometimes that way of tailoring speech can help demonstrate who’s in and who’s out.” If you don’t have a clue what “BRB” means or are questioning logic when you hear the word “derp” then you probably don’t speak that type of English dialect.

Folium: How the Internet Is Changing the English Language via DailyDot

ed. Academic Linguists are even weighing in on the conversation! (Click to see a LOT more!)

I’m personally not concerned for that generation, or any other younger generation for that matter. In fact, I am less worried about the younger generation. They are more equipped to express their emotions using emojis, emoticons, and GIFS than any generation before. KWIM?

Julie Thatcher
LEAF Contributor