May 15, 2008

Researchers: written English language will weather LOL storm

From ars technica

By Jacqui Cheng
Published: May 14, 2008 - 08:40PM CT

Concerned parents and disgusted Internet elitists often criticize teenagers for their use of abbreviated speech and shorthand online, frequently arguing that it is ruining their language skills. It turns out that's not the case, however, according to new research from the University of Toronto to be published in the spring 2008 issue of American Speech. In fact, not only is "IM speak" not destroying anyone's language skills, it is actually being characterized as "an expansive new linguistic renaissance."

Researchers Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis studied over a million words from IM communications and compared it to more than 250,000 spoken words of those between the ages of 15 and 20. The two found that, while written and spoken speech share some similarities, IM communications actually leaned toward the formal side. Teens were more likely to say "She was like, 'oh no you didn't!'" when speaking to one another, but write "She said, 'oh yes I did!'" when IMing. (And then I was like "nuh uh!")

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