How Has Technology Influenced the English Language?

The recent years have seen a phenomenal increase in the use of the Internet, social media networks, and various mediums such as blogs and tweets. These mediums have made writers out of laymen, allowing them to voice their opinions on any topic or just pen their thoughts, without having to worry about grammar, punctuation, and syntax. English being the primary language used for communication across these mediums and networks, have these developments impacted the language in any way?

Assigning new meaning to existing vocabulary
Already existing words have been assigned new meanings through social media usage. A “tablet,” now also refers to an electronic device, a “wall” does not just mean the wall in a room but also the homepage of a social media profile, “streaming” means transmitting or receiving data. “Troll,” who used to be the ugly creature or giant in a folklore, is now also a person who writes atrocious comments on someone.

New Vocabulary and Acronyms
Many new words have been coined, such as “selfie,” a self-captured picture, and “unfriend,” which means removing someone from a list of contacts or friends on a social networking website. The need for speedy communication while interacting with several people or groups simultaneously on social media has resulted in the emergence of acronyms such as LOL (Laughing out loud), OMG (Oh My God), TTYL (Talk to You later), LMK (Let me know), and GR8 (great). Moreover, to shorten communication even further, there are GIFs, emojis, and so on, which convey emotions. New words are incorporated into dictionaries; for example, the word “google.” You are now told to “google it” instead of “search for it.”

Impact on the English language
English, considered to be a “living language,” has been evolving continuously and technology has contributed to this in a big way. All information about the language is available on the Internet. While there seems to be a generational language gap, with the youth using newly coined words and acronyms, this need not be alarming, as the concepts of formal and informal usage are still clearly demarcated. This ever-evolving language has a robust foundation, and its conventional form will only be further developed and never deteriorate.