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Emoticons and symbols aren’t ruining language – they’re revolutionizing it

Collister, Lauren Brittany (2015) Emoticons and symbols aren’t ruining language – they’re revolutionizing it. The Conversation.

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In many casual discussions of language and the internet, it’s not uncommon to hear about how such “textspeak ruins language” – how technology has made everybody lazy with their speech and writing. Major media outlets such as the LA Times, the BBC and The Daily Mail have all bemoaned the ways in which people communicate through technology. Of course, language does change when it’s used to text or write messages on the internet. It’s even become the focus of the field of linguistics known as Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). Although it specifies computers in its name, CMC refers to the study of interaction facilitated by technology like computers, mobile phones and tablets. And contrary to the idea that these innovations are corrupting language, they actually demonstrate a creative repurposing of symbols and marks to a new age of technology. These evolutions of language are swift, clever and context-specific, illustrating the flexibility of the language to communicate nonverbal meaning in a nuanced, efficient manner.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Collister, Lauren Brittanylbcollister@pitt.eduLBC80000-0001-5767-8486
Date: 6 April 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: The Conversation
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: computer-mediated, communication, emoticons, textspeak
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 16:44
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 13:57


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