IM and the future of language
Viewpoint: Instant messaging and the future of language by Naomi Baron, Communications of the ACM, Volume 48 , Issue 7 (July 2005). In this paper, the author claims that the writing style commonly used in IMing, texting, and other forms of computer-mediated communication need not spell the end of normative language.
Are email, instant messaging (IM), and text messaging on cell phones degrading the language? This question surfaces in debates among language professionals and, perhaps more important, among parents and their teenage offspring. (...) The most important effect of IM on language turns out to be not stylized vocabulary or grammar but the control seasoned users feel they have over their communication networks. (...) Adolescents have long been a source of linguistic and behavioral novelty. Teens often use spoken language to express small-group identity. It is hardly surprising to find many of them experimenting with a new linguistic medium (such as IM) to complement the identity construction they achieve through speech, clothing, or hair style. (...) Our research suggests that IM conversations serve largely pragmatic information-sharing and social-communication functions rather than providing contexts for establishing or maintaining group identity. Moreover, college students often eschew brevity. Our data contains few abbreviations or acronyms (...) IM conversations are not always instant. (...) The most important effect of IM on language turns out to be not stylized vocabulary or grammar but the control seasoned users feel they have over their communication networks. (...) Our data suggests that when teenagers transition to college, they naturally shed some of their adolescent linguistic ways in favor of more formal writing conventions
Why do I blog this? analysis of IM, focused on whatever domain (forms, content, social networks...) is amazingly intriguing!