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How is technology changing the way we use language?
Professor Naomi Baron
The popular press has led many people to believe that the explosion of first email, and then IM (instant messages) and texting, has led language down a destructive path: all that bad spelling and grammar, random punctuation, and all those abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons. There are two presumptions in this assumption: first, that language has indeed changed and second, that the change is destructive.
Has contemporary digital technology really changed language that much? If you look at writing patterns over the past fifty years or so, you’ll find that our notions regarding the importance of “writing mechanics” have shifted dramatically. Grammar? Don’t be so prescriptive. Punctuation? Follow more the way we speak (so-called rhetorical punctuation) rather than traditional rules for writing (so-called logical punctuation). Spelling? Isn’t that what spell check is for? It turns out that many of the “errors” we complain about finding in IMs or text messages have their roots in the writing of young people before online and mobile communication became available.
As for abbreviations and acronyms, a quick check of history shows that such shortenings date back centuries, even millennia. With emoticons, while there are hundreds of options out there, empirical research indicates that unless you are a teenager or young adult wanting to show how “in” or “cool” you can be, the vast majority of people do not use them much.
Disponível em: <http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/technology-changing-language>. Acesso em: 25 abr. 2013.
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