The Role of English in the Internet Age
English in the Internet age is creating a constantly changing English language. The way languages used to evolve was through people speaking it. English in the internet age has changed because people are communicating in the language by conversing with type in real time. Communication is abbreviated by use of new words, acronyms, emojis and other ways of shortening sentences. Many of these new abbreviations have become a part of written English. Some have become new words in spoken English. The internet, the digital era and the most active members of the digital age have introduced thousands of new words, from ‘download’ to LOL.
The huge role that is played by English in the internet age is because even for millions of non-native English speakers, English is the language of choice for communication online. One of the reason for this is that non-native speakers are often forced to write in English because there is no code for the script needed to write their native language on the internet.
For people whose language of communication is not their native language, the result will be that the language undergoes all sorts of changes as misspellings, grammar rules and usage are set aside for the sake of easy communication.
Thus while English as we know it dominates the internet now, as it is adopted by non-native speakers in numbers that exceed native English speakers, the English we see on the internet, especially in chat rooms, and social media, may become a very different English.
Dependence on English for non-native speakers may change if Unicode, a computer technology which makes it easier to write in other languages than English, is added to more computers and thus becomes more widespread.
Meanwhile, the story of English in the internet age is one in which people are creating their own type of English online to communicate. Languages speakers of Spanish, Hindi and Korean have created a very usable version of English, which they use in chat rooms and other social media platforms. Linguist are already interested in these new variations of English in the internet age, and there may be a time when they are adopted in a formal way as part of a new English vocabulary and language.