News & Discovery About Web Technologies

24 Ways Internet Has Changed Our Relationship With Words

From improving the way we live our lives to making communication across the world instantaneous, technology has done a lot for us.

The way we write has changed, as well. We no longer scratch on clay tablets and draw pictograms on the walls of temples or write text on papyrus.

We type words on screens and use keyboards to write and share our ideas.

In the following sections, we look at 24 ways the new web of things has changed our relationship with words.


1. Emojis

Emojis are ideograms used in electronic messages and web pages. They exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. Emojis are modern days hieroglyphs and define the internet linguistic system in themselves alone. People use emojis to express their strong feelings rather than words. In the age of the internet, one single emoji can mean a thousand words.


2. Abbreviations

The heavy use of text abbreviations and acronyms first appeared with flip phones and pagers in the 1980's. Over the course of the years, with the rise of smartphones and internet, new internet slang has appeared like omg (Oh My God), lol (Laugh At Loud) and YOLO (You Only Live Once), among many others. Abbreviations, along with emojis, are a significant and meaningful part of the internet linguistics culture.


3. Urban Dialects

The internet allows English speakers of whichever background to encounter varieties of English from all over the world that they might never have before. For instance, words like “funner” are incorrect in standard English but are fine in Indian English. Another popular online dialect is African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). A lot of the internet buzzwords of 2016, words like lit, bae, woke and on fleek, derive directly from AAVE.


4. Online Based Dialects

The new web of things has given birth to online-only based dialects that can only be seen in particular online communities like Tumblr, LiveJournal, and Twitter. In fact, writing found on blogs, websites, and online articles tend to highly differ from formal writing. Online content is meant to appeal to either a very broad audience or a specific community. As a result, online writers have adapted their writing by ignoring certain grammatical rules and creating others in order to create internet-friendly content.


5. Autocorrection

Autocorrects or replace-as-you-type software is an automatic data validation function or spell checker found in word processors and text editing interfaces for smartphones, tablets, computers and online web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome. They correct common spelling or typing errors and automatically format text or insert special characters by recognizing particular character usage. Autocorrects are widely appreciated in the internet culture, saving revision time for the users.


6. New Grammar

On the internet, improper grammar is generally widely accepted. It is either viewed as entertaining, creative or urban. For instance, it is not uncommon for people to replace “s” with “z”, confuse the third-person singular with the first-person singular (we was), take adjectives and adverbs and get them the wrong way around (“much words”, should be “many words”).


7. New Vocabulary

The rise of the internet culture has created the need to create new words to describe its new inventions, tweet, posts, and broadband. But it has also created a new subculture of English speakers with new vocabularies. In fact, people who speak English as a second language bring their own dialects onto the internet, whether it’s Spanglish (Spanish English), Hinglish (Indian English) or Singlish (Singaporean English). As new languages are being accepted online, it is slowly shaping traditional English.


8. New Text Structures

Online content is structured differently than more formal traditional content. There are no opening and closing paragraphs on the internet. Online users prefer and pay more attention to information that is broken up into smaller paragraphs because it is easier to read. It is very common to see paragraphs that are only 1-3 sentences long. Online writers understand that they need to create a “hook,” an enticing or interesting line that compels their site’s visitors to keep reading.


9. Simple Words

The use of simple words on the internet is preferred over complicated terms. In fact, online readers are usually looking for easy-to-digest content. This means that they tend to be turned off by writers who use flowery, superfluous, verbose, or pompous language.


10. Text Programs

Nowadays, people use text programs to write. The more sophisticated and integrated those programs are becoming, the easier it is to express our thoughts. Text programs also increase the ease with which we can get the work done and get ideas and notions out of our heads.


11. New Ways Of Writing

Technology is allowing more people to write. In fact, through speech to text or other input methods, it is now possible for those who don’t have freedom of movement or the ability to write, to share their ideas and thoughts online.


12. Ease Of Research

The new web of things has made it easy for writers to research and effectively cover a wide range of topics. With search engines such as Google and Bing, it is easy to learn and discover new things such as different cultures and recipes.


13. Ease Of Publication

The internet has led to a glut of writing where everyone who has a book inside them can now put their words out for everyone to read. With self-publishing tools such as Lulu, the same is true with writing and, publishing.


14. Ease Of Plagiarism

The new web of things is putting the world’s information at everyone’s fingertips. That phenomenon has made plagiarism easier and more common. However, unlike the real world, the internet culture seems to be more tolerant and accepting of certain degrees of plagiarism. There are so many different articles online that it is hard to remember the sources.


15. Detecting Plagiarism

Before the internet, detecting plagiarism was very difficult. With online services such as Copyscape, it is easier to find and detect verbatim plagiarism.


16. New Lexical Standards

The web has created new types of writing with new lexical standards. For instance, rather than using footnotes, people will utilize hashtags to make references in a sentence. Hashtags are great examples of new types of writing invented by and only for the internet.


17. Ease Of Inspiration

Access to incredible amounts of online information has made it easy for people to get inspired. In fact, internet writers can easily borrow ideas from other writers, copy paste ideas from different websites on a word processor, organize them, and present them as original ideas.


18. Proofreading

The new web of things has made proofreading so easy and efficient that most people rely on those programs to proofread texts. Some writers even type in words in a word processor to learn the correct spelling.


19. Faster Writing

New technologies enable writers to complete several volumes of their work within a short period of time. Typing directly to a word processor is obviously faster than using a typewriter or a pen and paper. An average typist can reach 50 to 70 words per minute (wpm), while advanced typists work at speeds above 120wpm.


20. Online Translation

Online translators have made it easy for people to translate their work in different languages fast and reach a wider audience. In the age of the internet, writers do not need to learn new languages to translate their work in those languages.


21. Death Of Handwriting

The internet revolution is slowly killing handwriting. In fact, we are gradually moving into a non-handwriting future where the spoken word will rule just like in ancient times.


22. Online Dictionaries

Long gone are the days where people needed to carry a heavy dictionary to look up the spelling or the meaning of words. With the rise of the web, users now rely on online dictionaries that are already integrated into most web browsers and text programs.


23. Punctuation Use

In the internet linguistics culture, it is commonly accepted to overuse punctuations, such as question marks and exclamation marks, as a mean to express strong feelings and emphasize. For instance, using over two exclamation marks at the end of a sentence can either be seen as extreme excitement, sadness or anger, depending on the meaning of the sentence and the mood of the writer.


24. More Writing

Surprisingly enough, the internet is prompting us to write more. In fact, it is the primarily way of expression online. We write comments, codes, blogs, emails, articles and text messages, more than ever before.

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