The end of language?

Azeem wonders if children submitting essays in txt msg language is a bad thing or just language evolving. I’m usually one of those ‘language is a living thing’ guys in these matters, laughing at the grammar pedants and vocabulary fascists (I like David Crystal on language change). There has to be some kind of limit, though, and I guess this might be it. No language is infinitely flexible, otherwise is ceases to be a language. Language evolves but, necessarily, within the bounds of shared comprehension.

As new vocabulary and new structures arrive they test the limits, keeping understanding in a constant state of tension – parents never quite understand their teenage kids but they manage to communicate and the language advances. Introductions and innovations are absorbed quickly (usually within a generation) but txt language requires too great an effort from non-speakers. It’s too jarring, too remote from the norm. But presumably it’ll fade away as interfaces become more transparent anyway…

1 comment

Comments are closed.