The internet speeds up the process of language change

To Google’ has become a universally understood verb and many countries are developing their own internet slang. But is the web changing language and is everyone up to speed?

According to David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, new colloquialisms spread like wildfire amongst groups on the net. Language itself changes slowly but the internet has speeded up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly.

One example of this is evident in Ukraine, where a written variation of the national tongue has sprung up on internet blogs and message boards called “padronkavskiy zhargon” – in which words are spelled out phonetically.

Txt spk: One language change that has definitely been overhyped is so-called text speak, a mixture of often vowel-free abbreviations and acronyms, says Prof Crystal.

People say that text messaging is a new language and that people are filling texts with abbreviations – but when you actually analyse it you find they’re not. In fact only 10% of the words in an average text are not written in full.