Thursday, February 16, 2006

Language Lament

In this article, Wired's "The Luddite" column takes yet another look at the impact of the IM, e-mail, and blog phenomena on the English language. It links to the broadly-traveled recent revelation that people can't properly discern the intended tone of an e-mail, even though they think that they can.

I hail from the school that separates "formal language" from "informal language," and as a result tend to produce a broad range of linguistic output in the course of my daily life. This blog, for instance, is written in an informal and conversational style that would not necessarily be appropriate in the technical documentation that I formerly wrote (Or any "professional" communication, for that matter. e.g. Corporate e-mail). Further, there is a notable difference between my speech during an evening with friends and during a presentation or interview. In most situations, I choose to maintain mostly-proper grammar and syntax. I can attribute this behavior to the following facts: I'm a reasonably proficient typist, and I actually learned the rules in the first place. That doesn't mean that I don't bend to the subculture, convenience, temporal economy, and even anti-establishmentarian aspects of "IM speak" in my actual instant messages...

In other news, it appears we don't need an excuse to surf the 'net anymore, we can do it "just 'cuz."