Dialect Blog is a great source of debate. This week Twitter and all its connotations on society and language were once again being discussed. The question seems to be is our online communication influencing our language? In relation to a paper about internet slang, the blog posted this. It looked at gender and social groups:
For one thing, women seem to show more variety when it comes to spoken internet lingo than men. Both genders use terms like ‘bff‘ (‘Best Friends Forever’), the aforementioned ‘omg‘ (‘Oh my God’) and ‘lol‘ (‘Laughing out loud’), but women do so in greater numbers. Meanwhile, a small fraction of women use ‘wtf‘ (‘What the f***?’), ‘brb‘ (‘Be right back’) and ‘ttyl‘ (‘talk to you later’), where men reportedly never use these. Is this evidence of a gender gap opening in information-era dialects? Hardly, but it’s intriguing to wonder.
I remain a tad skeptical about the degree to which online writing will impact spoken language. Most of what we’re talking about here is slang, and slang rarely stands the test of time. More startling would be if online grammar begins to influence its spoken counterpart. But thus far it’s hard to identify what ‘online grammar’ even is, much less how it might be sneaking into oral discourse.
The Guardian have also been debating what ‘Cool’ means to different people.
The Oxford philosopher JL Austin once observed in a lecture that in English a double negative implied a positive meaning, whereas no language had been found in which a double positive implied a negative meaning. Another philosopher who was in the audience that day made a very simple counterclaim just by saying “yeah, yeah”.
This is a great area for students to look at. Beth Kemp looks at this in her guide - but also links it to the spec for you too:
Studying change is concerned with three main questions:
How has the English language changed over its history?
This is largely an AO1 concern, dealing with the particulars of usage in terms of lexis, semantics, grammar and (possibly) phonology. Students may be exploring broad systemic changes (e.g. in the grammatical system) and/or they may be expected to identify different types of word formation or meaning change.
Why does language change?
This area requires some knowledge of theories and concepts, as well as a broad appreciation of the sweep of history. A lot of this material is likely to be AO3 knowledge, concerned with the context of the usage, but the understanding of theory can also come in here and be rewarded under AO2.
What attitudes are displayed to change?
This is also an AO2/AO3 crossover area, and students are likely to be expected to be able to talk about the main approaches people have towards changes in language, and the probable contexts for those opinions.
If you are teaching this, the guide will also send you to different areas of the site to get you up to speed. Cool.
Link: Internet Slang
Link: Guardian | Cool Language
Tags: beth kemp, cool language, dialect, information-era dialects, internet lingo, jl austin, language change, language gender gap, language variation, language variation theories, lol, omg, online grammar, slang,