Since the majority of our interpersonal communications have become mediated through mobile devices, there has been a measurable impact on language and linguistics. While economy in language has always been prized, regional English flourishes are giving way to leaner communiqués on Blackberries and iPhones, while more intensive subject-based internet communities, such as Policto.com, have developed terminology and phrasing that can be understood only within that particular group.
The last ten years have been fascinating from a linguistic standpoint, as abbreviated terms such as 'LOL' and entirely new language symbols, such as emoticons, have moved from the fringes into popular parlance. Both of these somewhat intimate forms of language gained popularity through mobile devices, primarily as a way to transcribe actions that would ordinarily take place as part of a face to face conversation. They are now accepted as legitimate verbiage by a wide variety of the populace.
The immediacy of mobile devices, and their corresponding use in interpersonal communications, has leant them access to the personal and emotional side of human language, where arguably the most meaningful terms are developed. The integration of symbol-based language like emoticons into English is particularly fascinating. Expressing emotion concisely and accurately is one of the most difficult tasks in language. By jumping to universally recognized symbols, this difficulty is circumvented, or at least delayed. As emoticons become more prevalent due to time constraints in communication, increasingly complex symbols will have to develop to express emotional ideas. A typical 'smiley face,' while now used to represent happiness, may eventually be paired with different symbols to express the idea of happiness during a given time, such as during one's youth, or in a certain place, such as on vacation.
English has always been a motley language, borrowing terms from dozens of other cultures and nationalities while requiring its grammar to perform needlessly bizarre contortions. Its complexity and inherent malleability compels it, somewhat paradoxically, to continually develop in order to retain its essential character. Of course, it should be noted that this quality is not unique to English - every human language gradually changes over time. However, English has been one of the primary languages involved in the development of both the internet and mobile devices, which makes it easy to map its linguistic changes. Ultimately, the addition of mobile devices as a primary communication tool promises to deliver an altogether more concise and potentially rich text-and-symbol language.
Christopher Smith is the chief executive of local software company OPIN. You can follow him on Twitter @csedev.
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Christopher Alexander Smith
Smith, Christopher A.".".12 Oct. 2011EzineArticles.com.16 Oct. 2011
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