Article

The impact of electronically-mediated communication on language standards and style

Naomi S. Baron

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0029

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 The impact of electronically-mediated communication on language standards and style

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  • Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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Over the past five decades, the English language has undergone a stylistic shift, becoming increasingly informal. This informality is reflected in both speech and writing, and writing itself is tending to become a medium for recording informal speech. This chapter examines the extent to which contemporary information and communication technologies (ICTs) contribute to destandardization of either spoken or written language. It shows that the impact of ICTs results more from reinforcement of trends already evident in speech and writing and less from technological factors. These trends, in turn, reflect social change. The chapter first looks at variables shaping language standards and language style and then discusses independent changes (including growing social informality, emulation of youth, and multiculturalism) that have manifested themselves in both spoken and written language, predating popularization of computers and mobile phones.

Keywords: English; speech; writing; standards; social change; ICTs; destandardization; style; written language; linguistics; social informality

Article.  4478 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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