Internet: Making Large-Scale Language Change Possible

Topics: Linguistics, Internet, Lingua franca Pages: 4 (1122 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Do you think that the Internet makes large-scale language change possible without in-person human contact?

All languages undergo evolution with time and get different variations from the native as their use diversifies globally. Although this phenomenon and its resulting nature are quite unpredictable, they are bound to occur as the world seeks to embrace multiculturalism. In the contemporary world, Internet use influences this aspect immensely although a division by elites exists on its effects as either advantageous or otherwise. Despite explicit knowledge that Internet access is revolutionary to communication through rapid distribution of opinions and messages, the scope of these effects are subject to debate. This essay explains how Internet has been transformational in language convergence and the mechanisms that have ultimately effected these changes. Mechanisms of Language shift

To affect language change by either a shift or convergence using human contact or cyberspace requires several mechanisms. Thomason highlights these mechanisms as “code-switching, code-alternation, passive familiarity, negotiation, second language acquisition strategies, bilingual first language acquisition and change by deliberate decision” (2001, p.129). Important for language convergence is code switching that involves the use of aspects from different languages at the same time. As a typological mechanism of induced language change, it is conflicting and closely relates to acquisition of second language mechanism of language change. This mechanism is common in online conversations particularly in social networks a phenomenon that contributes to language convergence. Similarly, code alteration that involves the use of a specific language based on the environment also promotes convergence particularly in communication that is computer mediated. During job seeking, online scholarship application and aptitude tests, the language used is different from that of...
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