Abstract and Keywords
Over the past five decades, the English language has undergone a stylistic shift, becoming increasingly informal. This informality is reflected in both speech and writing, and writing itself is tending to become a medium for recording informal speech. This chapter examines the extent to which contemporary information and communication technologies (ICTs) contribute to destandardization of either spoken or written language. It shows that the impact of ICTs results more from reinforcement of trends already evident in speech and writing and less from technological factors. These trends, in turn, reflect social change. The chapter first looks at variables shaping language standards and language style and then discusses independent changes (including growing social informality, emulation of youth, and multiculturalism) that have manifested themselves in both spoken and written language, predating popularization of computers and mobile phones.
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