Feeds

English safe despite Web

Destruction of language 'not remotely likely'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

A leading linguist insisted today that that the destruction of the English language by perceived abuses on the World Wide Web was "not remotely likely".

Speaking at the Royal Society of Arts in London, Dr David Crystal chose rather to highlight ways in which the Web "is giving a creative range to the language", while conceding that it is having "an impact on languages quite unlike any previous technology".

One example of this impact is the instant dissemination of new words: "A new word coming in in the morning can be on everyone's screen in the evening," Dr Crystal noted, adding that such possibilites were "fostering language change in a way that was not possible before."

Although seemingly spared the cruel fate of death at the hands of geeks and chat room devotees, Dr Crystal stated that although English currently accounts for around 70 per cent of Web content, this would fall as speakers of other languages acquired Web technology and expertise.

One positive result of this trend would be the international dissemination of endangered languages. There are currently around 1500 languages represented in cyberspace.

Dr Crystal's 60 or so published works include The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and, more recently, Netspeak - an analysis of English on the Web. He held a chair at the University of reading for ten years and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He was awarded an OBE in 1995 for his services to the English language.

Related Story

Email is 'third revolutionary step in human communication'

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Judge nixes HP deal for director amnesty after $8.8bn Autonomy snafu
Lawyers will have to earn their keep the hard way, says court
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?