How The Internet Is Speeding Up The Evolution Of English

Most speakers already know how online life has changed the language. What many may not be aware of is the growing effect of hybrids such as "Hinglish" and "Konglish" that, pre-Internet, were confined to specific groups.

What's the Latest Development?


With non-native English speakers outnumbering native speakers worldwide, and with more of these speakers coming online every day, linguists say that the evolution of the language is happening faster and in strange and unexpected ways. Most notably, they're observing how English hybrids that normally were contained within a particular ethnic or national group are migrating and co-mingling online, particularly on social networks like Facebook. For example, the use of "Hinglish" -- a combination of Hindu, Punjabi, Urdu, and English used primarily by South Asians -- is now so widespread that it's being taught to British officials and built into some smartphone apps.

What's the Big Idea?

It's already been established that English is the language of commerce and business, but the changes being seen online reflects an even larger shift in its use. Computational linguist Robert Munro says, "[T]here is a special commercial and social role for English driven by modern forms of entertainment...English has taken its place as the world's lingua franca, but it's not pushing out other languages." Linguistics professor Naomi Baron says, "On the internet, all that matters is that people can communicate - nobody has a right to tell them what the language should be."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
Keep reading Show less

What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
Surprising Science

To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

Keep reading Show less

Sooner or later we all face death. Will a sense of meaning help us?

As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash
Personal Growth

'Despite all our medical advances,' my friend Jason used to quip, 'the mortality rate has remained constant – one per person.'

Keep reading Show less

3 mind-blowing space facts with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tyson dives into the search for alien life, dark matter, and the physics of football.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: 3 mind-blowing space facts | Big Think | dotcom
Videos
  • Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space.
  • In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game.
  • These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…