In 1991, one man created the World Wide Web, the basis of the Internet, his name was Tim Berners-Lee and he was a scientist from CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).
Originally developed for the purpose of exchanging data between researchers at the organization, it began a new digital innovation that would span for two decades and is still present now.
As he clicked on the mouse that created the World Wide Web, he would never realize his product would bestow seemingly infinite knowledge to the general public.
The ‘World Wide Web’ defined the term ‘the Internet’ and gave rise to one of the most crucial inventions of the next century, Google, a search engine that became the medium people would use to access websites and browse the Internet.
Clearly, based on the creation of the World Wide Web and the subsequent impact it had in the later century, it has a profound impact on the way people interact with technology.
As we interact with the Internet, new phrases and words emerge, either through usage of slang or the creation of new words.
Eventually these words would be absorbed into the lexicon. See what happens when these words are ingrained in our heads…
The Effect Of The English Language
Visualize yourself in a family photograph that was captured a decade ago; a lovely family of five, all sitting on the sofa and watching the last episode of Friends.
It does seem like a nostalgic experience, doesn’t it? You probably had a relative who took the photograph for you.
As your family scrolls through the photo gallery, you encounter the very same photograph. As you stare at the photograph, you notice a dog leaping in the air behind you.
In 2004, you would have struggled to describe this moment in words. Now, it’s a different matter altogether, there is a single word that describes this particular action – Photo bombing.
This is one of the many words that have flooded the English language in the past decade.
According to The History of English website, a recent study indicated that annually, the English lexicon is broadening by 8,500 words.
Many linguists would assume that the Internet is merely adding newer terms to the English language but that’s not the case.
It is actually altering the language in a completely different aspect so that it adapts to the modern standards of this time period.
Did you know that on social networks, there are different variations of the English language such as Konglish (Korean English), Spanglish (Spanish English) and notably Hinglish (Hindu English).
Hinglish is a fusion of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English and it is very famous that it had to be taught to British diplomats.
App developers are trying keep up with the demands of the clients and developing technology to cater to their needs.
Some examples would be text-prediction, translation applications and language options, which are developed to fit the needs of the hybrid languages.
The ‘bastard’ languages, formed by the merger of two completely different languages, are gradually slithering their way into the English Language. Robert Munro, a computational linguist believes that
“English has taken its place as the world's lingua franca, but it's not pushing out other languages.”
Jane O’Brien, a reporter from the BBC elaborates on Mr. Munro’s statement
“Instead, other languages are pushing their way into English, and in the process creating something new.”
21st Century English
In another way that Internet English has been creeping into our daily vernacular (dialect) is through the misuse of certain Internet words and phrases.
A notable example is the usage of acronyms and slang.
If you were like me, then you would be interacting with your friends and colleagues through SMS or chatting applications on a daily basis.
Then sadly, you would be able to read this. “G2G txt me l8r.” A copious amount of words has replaced certain words as synonyms.
For example, LOL (Laughing out Loud) is considered a synonym of funny because the context is that it refers to a humorous situation.
Acronyms are typically used in private chats on social media, as a way of facilitating typing. Unfortunately, they are stealthy crawling their way into the English language.
As a result, people are slowly incorporating these acronyms into their idiolect. Acronyms have lost their original purpose as a means of writing down phrases in a simple way.
An Australian study has concluded that while writing down acronyms/slang may be a faster form of communication, reading it back isn’t.
Why Should We Care?
It may not be the most spoken language but it is the official language in a large amount of countries, United States included.
Plus, it is estimated that approximately 2 billion use the English language to communicate in a daily basis!
It is a necessity, especially if one were to join a global corporation. Research highlights that most trans-national business communication is conducted in English.
The majority of the film, literature and media are produced and published in English, especially works in translation.
By learning the English Language, one has greater access to a gamut of entertainment and cultural understanding.
Without the English language, you wouldn’t be able to comprehend the thick long pages of the Bible or be oblivious to what your favorite actors are saying in film.
If the English language continues to be modernized, adopting slang and acronyms, there is going to be a future where words are irrelevant. But…
The Future Of English Language
The English language has grown over the past decade, reaching new heights. The approximate number of English words nowadays, according to experts, is around 1 million.
A major contributor to that number was the emergence of the Internet, with in its wake, dozens and dozens of new applications and services. Now, an interesting question that awaits an answer is
“Is the expansion of the English language, caused by the Internet and Social Media, really a positive thing? Google it…