28 June 2005
IM and the future of language
Handy notes from Pasta & Vinegar on IM and the future of language:
Adolescents have long been a source of linguistic and behavioral novelty. Teens often use spoken language to express small-group identity. It is hardly surprising to find many of them experimenting with a new linguistic medium (such as IM) to complement the identity construction they achieve through speech, clothing, or hair style. (…) Our research suggests that IM conversations serve largely pragmatic information-sharing and social-communication functions rather than providing contexts for establishing or maintaining group identity. Moreover, college students often eschew brevity. Our data contains few abbreviations or acronyms (…) IM conversations are not always instant. (…) The most important effect of IM on language turns out to be not stylized vocabulary or grammar but the control seasoned users feel they have over their communication networks.
Full paper by Naomi Baron, Viewpoint: Instant messaging and the future of language, Communications of the ACM, Volume 48 , Issue 7 (July 2005).
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