What are Computers Doing to Language?

–A question I never tire of asking. Between trendsetters like ‘Neuromancer’ (“cyberspace” is from that book! whoa!) and tools of convenience (chatspeak, namely), we should expect language to be undergoing some kind of change.

Of course, there’s the simple addition of terms related to computing–motherboards, hard drive, CPU, Internet, software, etc. And then there’s factors like common misspellings, which led to terms like ‘pwned’ (did you know that’s pronounced like ‘owned’? I did not) and, depending on the site, special intentional misspellings stemming from common misspellings (‘tiem,’ for instance).

Now, a lot of this has got to stem from how used to MS Word’s autocorrect we’ve all gotten. I regularly forget to capitalize ‘I’, now, and I’ve noticed that I am far more neglectful about transposed letters than I used to be. It doesn’t matter, people can read it anyway!

…Overall, I see a certain amount of laziness–but, from a different perspective, what’s really going on is greater casualness. Not only is anyone permitted to be an author, now, as opposed to the dilettantes with too much money and formal education–but anyone can talk to anyone else from around the world.

Yes, those of us who are purists will never get used to the notion of ditching good grammar and real spelling entirely, but don’t knock it. The way of the future is in quantity, not quality–let’s data-mine this business.

(trying not to be whiny about getting published. come on, I can’t wait for replies and acceptance letters at the same time!)


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