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Why is language becoming less formal?
08-11-2021

Why is language becoming less formal?

All languages: including English, evolve over time, for they are living languages, but what is causing this trend towards a less formal type of communication?

Language proliferates due to external factors. However, recently it appears that the Internet is currently playing a pivotal role in this evolution. In the online world, we write freely and naturally paying little attention to grammar, using slang and a lot of abbreviations.

Consequently, is the English written language really deteriorating? According to David Crystal, a linguist and author of “Internet Linguistics”, this fact should not worry us. Most of the English language used today is the same as the one used 20 years ago, and this includes e-communications. That is why, we can perfectly understand a transcript of a speech given by Charles Darwin, or why our grandparents do not need a translator to understand and communicate with their grandchildren.

Even though the English language has not substantially changed, the way we communicate has. The lack of punctuation, syntax, abbreviations… used mostly in social media are unlikely to be used in a piece of journalism, a scientific report or in a business email, for instance.

However, it has had a lasting impact on the level of formality implemented on other types of documents. The Internet has made it socially acceptable to write in a less formal tone even in situations that used to require high levels of formality.

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