521-Class 27

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Language in the age of the internet

Watch this video: David Crystal on Texting - somewhat outdated, but useful.

Read this brief article Txtng Rules.

Watch John McWhorter's TED talk

Read New York Magazine article on the evolution of emoji


Study questions


David Crystal Video


TED Talk (McWhorter) and Txting Rules brief article


Evolution of Emoji (Sternbergh)


Take home points

Why might some people think that texting has negative outcomes on literacy skills? People judge other people on language use because language use is a cue to other things: education, SES, etc. Changes are often seen as degradations, when in fact they just reflect neutral fads or accommodations to new communication technologies.

What is this “texting as fingered speech” thing? Like writing, texting/IMs are written, but unlike other writing, they happen in real-time. This makes them importantly similar to speech.

Emoticons and Emoji emerge to fill some gaps that real-time written communication creates.

What factors might drive texting conventions and their change over time? What’s easy to produce (no emoji without emoji keyboards!)

Emoji/emoticons as emblems: Like other aspects of language, texting has a social component. How you text offers clues abotu what kind of person you are.

Some emoji are readily understandable (smilie, laugh, pout). Others are used more as visual metaphors and require learning (like other aspects of language).

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