How Technology Has Changed Language

How Technology Has Changed Language
How Technology Has Changed Language

The new forms of technology have managed to change the world in what seems like overnight. One day there were hand-written letters and phone calls, the next there were emails and text messages. Some people long for the good old days when communication was more personal. Some people love that they can simply type a message and click send. No matter what type of person you are, though, there is no getting around the fact that technology has changed the spoken (and written) word forever.

If you do not think that communicating through language has not changed much over the past several years, consider the following data and you may just change your views.

The Year 2006

By the time we reached 2006, cell phones, computers and other technological devices had just begun to peak. There were:

158 billion text messages sent out

1.7 trillion cell phone minutes used

233,041, 000 people with cell phone plans

12 million Facebook accounts

171 million Skype Accounts

140 million landline phones

Now let us take a look at what occurred just four short years later.

The Year 2010

2.5 trillion text messages sent out

2.2 trillion cell phone minutes used

303 million people with cell phone plans

500 million Facebook accounts

560 million Skype accounts

153 million land lines (though this is higher than 2006, land line companies were losing about 700,000 customers each month by the end of 2009)

If you compare the numbers in 2006 and 2010, it is simple to see that technology really has changed the way we communicate.

While even the Baby Boomer generation has taken to the use of cell phones and social media, they still partake in language the way it used to be. Many people of that generation simply use these outlets because it is what everyone else is doing and is sometimes the most convenient way to get in touch with others. People born in the current generation, sadly, do not know of any other form of language. Generation Y grew up in this new technological era so they do not know any different either. Generation X was hitting puberty while these changes were developing so they are mostly converted to this new style of language.

Most Noticeable Changes

One of the most noticed changes in language these days are abbreviations. The internet spawned a whole new version of language when technology took over. In fact, many people who are writing letters (the old-fashioned way of communication!) find themselves using internet abbreviations. Some of the most popular “words” in internet language are:

  • LOL- laughing out loud
  • IMO- in my opinion
  • BTW- by the way
  • BFF-best friend forever
  • SMH- shaking my head

Many people also use emoticons to show their emotions in place of actually expressing how they feel through words. An example of this includes:

J Happy

L Sad

<3 love

😛 Funny

😉 winking

:’( crying

How do you think people living in the 1950’s would respond to such changes?!?!

Another noticeable change is that fewer actual conversations are taking place. Most people are choosing text messaging over talking. Technology really makes it easy to avoid speaking to people if you don’t want to. One of the top things that people complain about as being rude and annoying is when you call someone and do not get an answer, yet a few minutes later you will get a text message from the person who did not pick up their phone. Are people actually forgetting how to use language in their daily lives? With things like this happening, it would appear so. Remember, technology can be a wonderful thing, and the new devices that have been developed have some fantastic benefits. But, we are allowing it all to take the place of spoken word, and IMO (point in case) this is not a good thing at all.


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