C0mput3r Sl@ng: Is It Changing English Grammar?

Computer slang has been around for decades and isn’t showing any signs of going away anytime soon. For many this isn’t a problem at all but for some groups of people it is a massive problem presenting real issues to the English language and more specifically to English grammar.

The argument is that as more and more people are adopting the use of computer slang it is changing the English language for the worse. This is because computer slang terms will become the norm and will make their way into the dictionary. The main problem people have with this is that computer slang isn’t seen as ‘classy’ and proper use of English grammar has always been held in high regard. Lowering the class of the English language, simply put, will give it a bad name that many people do not want to happen.

But is computer slang making real life changes to English grammar?

computer slang

Words that have been “changed” due to technology [Image credit: Gareth Leyshon, Flickr]

What Exactly Is Computer Slang?

Computer slang became increasingly popular with the rise of instant messaging services such as MSN and is still used by a lot of people on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It has also extended its reach to text messaging where it is used pretty frequently by a large number of people.

The main purpose of computer slang is to save time by reducing the number of keystrokes. This is usually done by substituting letters for keyboard symbols and/or making abbreviations. Yet, time saving isn’t the only reason that computer slang is used. Many people use it for joke purposes. Simply put, technology has changed our words!

[Read also: Technology – Are We Too Plugged in to it?]

Well.. English Isn’t A Static Language

The English language has never been a static language it has been created over thousands of years. Most years we see numerous new additions to the dictionary as the language is altered and changed. Because of this it more than possible that computer slang is changing English grammar. If a slang term becomes used more and more and makes its way into everyday use there is a chance that it will be added to the dictionary. However, this doesn’t just happen overnight, the process takes a number of years and many different meetings have to take place before a word gets approved.

Computer Slang Is Still Always Corrected

If a person is writing an essay for school or college, if they use computer slang they are going to be corrected and most probably marked down for it. For this reason it can be argued that computer slang isn’t having that big of an impact on English grammar. If people are constantly being corrected for using it and are negatively reinforced, be it by low grades or a telling off, it isn’t going to change English at all. People will be deterred from using it and it won’t become popular enough to start bringing about any real life changes.

It Does Make A Sense To Use

As was highlighted earlier the main reason for using computer slang is for time saving purposes. In this day and age it seems like the majority of people are pushed for time and wish they had more. Therefore using computer slang over proper English grammar does make a lot of sense. By saving a few keystrokes here and there you can really save a lot of time. Yet, the counter argument to this is how much time does it really save? Cutting one keystroke out or substituting a letter for a symbol isn’t really make that big a difference. In this instance using correct English grammar is the most rational choice.

[Read also: 5 Computer Tricks to Use Your Computer More Efficiently]

So Is It Making A Difference Or Not?

The conclusion that has been reached is that although using computer slang does change English grammar a little it isn’t making too much of a real life difference. For it to make a real difference it would have to be acceptable for use on things like job applications and essays, which it is not. However, things could change in the near future but who can predict these things?

Do you think computer slang is threatening English language and grammar? Tell us in the comments.


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