I was recently flipping through the back issues of the New York Times magazine that I had not yet gotten to and saw one of my favorite columns, On Language, tackling a most interesting topic for a CBO: Emoticons. You won’t see emoticons here at the Better World Blog, but in a world where the average American child types far more than they write and emoticons and “AIM speak” dominate, it can be a challenge to think of how literacy and education will change with these dominating forms of communication. How many of you have fallen in and said “brb” “lol” or just included a simple ” 🙂 ” in an email or used “u” instead of “you” in a moment of brevity inspired weakness?
In any event, the article is sharp and can be found here but the point of most note is the end:
Those concerned about the compression of our sped-up language are directed to “Linguistic Ruin? LOL! Instant Messaging and Teen Language,” by Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis, an article in the spring 2008 quarterly “American Speech” (dukeupress.edu). My choice for most influential and seminal language book of the year is “Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World,” by Naomi S. Baron, professor of linguistics at American University in D.C. (Oxford University Press, $30). She’s a scholar who can write in real time with real words.