Friday, 30 March 2012

Internet Linguistics and the various perspectives

Internet linguistics is a sub-domain of linguistics advocated by David Crystal. It studies new language styles and forms that have arisen under the influence of the Internet and other New Media, such as Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging. Since the beginning of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) leading to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) and Internet-Mediated Communication (IMC), experts have acknowledged that linguistics has a contributing role in it, in terms of web interface and usability. Studying the emerging language on the Internet can help improve conceptual organization, translation and web usability. This will benefit both linguists and web users. The study of Internet linguistics can be effectively done through 4 main perspectives; sociolinguistics, education, stylistics and applied.

Sociolinguistic  perspective

This perspective deals with how society views the impact of Internet development on languages. The advent of the Internet has revolutionized communication in many ways; it changed the way people communicate and created new platforms with far-reaching social impact. Significant avenues include but are not limited to SMS Text Messaging, e-mails, chatgroups, virtual worlds and the Web.
Educational perspective

The educational perspective of internet linguistics examines the Internet’s impact on formal language use, specifically on Standard English, which in turn affects language education. The rise and rapid spread of Internet use has brought about new linguistic features specific only to the Internet platform. These include, but are not limited to, an increase in the use of informal written language, inconsistency in written styles and stylistics and the use of new abbreviations in Internet chats and SMS text messaging, where constraints of technology on word count contributed to the rise of new abbreviations.
Stylistic perspective

This perspective examines how the Internet and its related technologies have encouraged new and different forms of creativity in language, especially in literature. It looks at the Internet as a medium through which new language phenomena have arisen. This new mode of language is interesting to study because it is an amalgam of both spoken and written languages. For example, traditional writing is static compared to the dynamic nature of the new language on the Internet where words can appear in different colors and font sizes on the computer screen.
Applied perspective

The applied perspective views the linguistic exploitation of the Internet in terms of its communicative capabilities – the good and the bad. The Internet provides a platform where users can experience multilingualism. Although English is still the dominant language used on the Internet, other languages are gradually increasing in their number of users.


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