A publication of the Department of English & Philosophy at Drexel University

Linguistic networks

Today in my linguistics class we were talking about social networking theory and how we have different social groups that interconnect and form networks between the people and groups we know and are a part of.  So this got me thinking about the internet and the different websites we use daily and how that influences our language.

Websites like Twitter have their own sort of language, from vocabulary to grammar.  A “tweet” isn’t the sound a bird makes, but a short 140 character maximum update or post.  There are retweets, mentions, follows, direct messages, hashtags, and all sorts of things that you don’t see in standard language.  There is also a different sort of grammar or way of speaking.  With only 140 characters to say what you want to say, the message has to be quick and precise.  You can check out this page to see more examples of Twitter speak. I definitely think this influences the way people speak in the real world as well.  I notice that I talk a lot faster and I get annoyed when it takes a person a long time to get their message across.  I feel myself thinking that they could have said what they said a lot quicker and more efficiently.

Have you ever noticed your language changing as you encounter and become a part of new social groups?

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