The Effect Contemporary Digital Culture has on the English Language


Most of our communication on a day to day basis takes place via social media and technology, social media is generally an informal hub for communication which means that we speak to each other in a very informal way. Incorporating words used by websites and apps like Facebook and twitter into our daily conversations.  Using digital technology on a daily basis hugely effects how we speak, seeing our language typed on a screen, be it social media talk or proper english, it becomes inbedded into our minds and our vocabulary. This is how the words like catfish, unlike, selfie, twerk, derp, photobomb, tweet, TL;DR, sext, omg, noob & unfriend have made it into our dictionaries and the English language.

Not only have new words become an integral part of communication, but the use of emoticons like “:)” and acronyms such as “LOL” add useful elements of non-verbal communication to a conversation. Interesting fact, LOL is celebrating its 27th birthday this year. Who would have thought that this internet inspired slang has been around for that long!

Facebook is notorious for the reappropriation of already existing words. For example profile, like, share, friend, status and wall are words that mean something to us, but thanks to face books reuse of the words, they now mean something slightly different. Even the use of the word troll, which used to be a fictional character that hides under a bridge. Now a troll is someone who makes offensive comments online. No longer do words have to be published through traditional platforms to be recognised and accepted as a word that will be used by the masses.

We have become speed freaks, always looking to communicate in the fastest and quickest way possible. Cutting down words to acronyms like ttyl, ily & wbu to cut down conversation length and language. On Twitter there’s a 140 character limit, so even if you’re not against the clock you are quite literally forced to make the statement brief. Even online popular brands have become part of our language, for example Google. A common phrase, “I’ll google it”.



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