Feeds

IM represents 'new linguistic renaissance'

Teens flex their chat muscles

Security for virtualized datacentres

Those among you who believe the use of instant messaging slang and shorthand among teens has doomed the English language to inevitable destruction should take heart from this report in New Scientist, which claims that au contraire, IM represents an "an expansive new linguistic renaissance".

That's according to Derek Denis and Sali Tagliamonte of the University of Toronto, who say the medium of IM allows yoof to roll out a "robust mix" of colloquial and formal lingo and, significantly, that "far from ruining teenagers' ability to communicate, IM lets teenagers show off what they can do with language".

Denis explained: "IM is interactive discourse among friends that is conducive to informal language, but at the same time, it is a written interface which tends to be more formal than speech."

Denis and Tagliamonte came to this conclusion after trawling over a million words of IM chat and 250,000 spoken words used by 72 people aged between 15 and 20. They discovered that "although IM shared some of the patterns used in speech, its vocabulary and grammar tended to be relatively conservative".

While linguistically-slack young 'uns are, for example, more likely to say "He was like, 'What's up?'" than "He said, 'What's up?'" when speaking, the opposite is true when they're IMing their mates. This, say the researchers, "supports the idea that IM represents a hybrid form of communication".

Regarding acronyms, readers will be relieved to learn that their use is not as ubiquitous as might appear. Outrages such as LOL, OMG and TTYL actually comprised a mere 2.4 per cent of IM vocab, a figure described by Denis and Tagliamonte as "infinitesimally small".

The dreaded "u", meanwhile, was shunned in favour of a full-fat "you" in 90 per cent of cases, and the researchers reckon use of such abbreviations is "confined mostly to the youngest users of IM".

Denis and Tagliamonte's findings are published in the spring 2008 issue of American Speech. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.