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Examining how technology is changing our language.



Kaitlyn Hall

Contributing Writer


Technology has influenced modern communication and language, changing grammar, spelling, and the way people read and write.

Children and young adults are among the most likely to be influenced by this shift, as they grew up under the watchful eyes of programs like autocorrect and the influence of shorthand-ridden social media websites.

Recent advances have increased the presence of the general population on the internet and the advances and increase participation in an evolving language.

Many find that certain facets of communication and technology help their writing, while others are a detriment to writing.

Editing programs such as autocorrect and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are heavily contested.

Anastasia Poberezhnaya, a Running Start student at Pierce College Puyallup, said that technology hadn’t made much of an impact on her grammar or spelling.

Poberezhnaya quickly recanted her statement, deciding that programs such as autocorrect have made her spelling and grammar worse, because she no longer has to try to spell.

She equated the use of a calculator to the use of a spell-checking program.

When you use a calculator, there is no need how to remember to do long division. When you use a spell-checking program, you don’t need to remember how to spell.

“I don’t remember how to do long division,” Poberezhnaya said.

Other students think autocorrect prevents them from making repeated mistakes.

“These tools (spell-check and autocorrect) help me because they allow me to see where my spelling or grammar went wrong, which will allow me to learn from those mistakes,” student Daniel Stamper said.

Social media is looked down upon for the quality of writing by Pierce College students.

Some estimates show that up to 90 percent of young adults and teens are on social media websites.

Meagan Lucero, a Running Start student, believes that social media has detracted from her writing skills.

“Social media has no positive impact on grammar due to the fact that you can easily post or tweet using no punctuation, which creates bad grammar habits,” Lucero said.

Student Brittney Davidson agrees.

Davidson said social media lessens knowledge and usage of advanced vocabulary.

She said that so much is about timesaving that it detracts from the quality of writing.

“It makes everything less meaningful,” Davidson said.

Some said that Twitter, with its restriction on the number of characters allowed, makes it impossible for them to use punctuation.

The above sentence numbers 130 characters, three of which are punctuation. The maximum number of characters allowed in a tweet is 140.

Stamper felt as if Twitter impeded his ability to use proper grammar.

“Technology worsens my grammar because in tweets you are only allowed 140 characters, which takes away my ability to use correct punctuation,” Stamper said.

The number of tweets in his twitter account have reached 2,200. He has omitted punctuation and capitalization in many of the tweets in favor of brevity.

A South by Southwest panel, “Slap My Words Up: Language in the Digital World,” found the opposite about Twitter.

One panelist commented that Twitter actually reduces misspellings and mistakes because people will point out the errors to the writer.

Because tweets can reach thousands of followers, a panelist said, a poster is much more likely to proofread their work for errors.

Despite the disagreements over whether social media and autocorrect are harmful or helpful to writing, all students agreed that technology influenced their writing and language in general in a positive way.

As people continue to become increasingly dependent on the internet for news and communication, they are exposed to more writing.

“I believe that technology has improved my writing, in the way that I’m constantly using it in my daily life,” Lucero said.

Texting, a popular form of communication among teens and young adults, has also greatly influenced the writing of children and language.

Many children mirror the language they use in text messaging in other forms of communication.

A 2012 study at Penn State University showed that children who tend to use abbreviations or misspelled words in text messages score lower on grammar tests.

The study, conducted in central Pennsylvania by S. Shyam Sundar, a professor at Penn State University, found that the children who send the highest percentage of messages with adapted language scored the most poorly on grammar tests.

While this evidence may be worrisome to researchers, student Nick Holzer believes these adaptations to be beneficial.

“(Texting) has created terms that are relatively well understood such as hashtag and YOLO. While they seem ignorant and such, they are an expansion on the existing language with accepted meanings,” Holzer said.

Technology has opened up access to languages and language learning programs.

“You’re able to learn so much more online,” Running Start student Navriti Sharma said.

New languages are being formed as languages intermix and words develop through online sharing.

New language include Hinglish and Spanglish, mixes of several languages that include terms understood in the contributing languages as well as new terms.

Technology has changed writing, both in the way that it’s learned and practiced.

Will technology be the death of language and writing skills or the rebirth of literature?

TBH, IDK what will happen but it will change writing 4ever.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

i Luv the wayyy i right

by Contributing Writer time to read: 3 min