III Международный конкурс
научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся

Выдрина К.В.
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Without a doubt, the Internet is the medium with more significant impact on language usage as well as change than the telegraph, telephone, radio, cinema, and TV all combined. In terms of depth and proportions, this new medium can be equated to the advent of Gutenberg's printing machine in 1436 and to some extent to the Norman invasion in England of 1066. The Internet’s revolution has changed the world, collapsed its distances, and given new powers to individuals, peoples, and nations. This revolution has given a voice to many and offered platforms for new genres to evolve, affecting everything that is societal including language.

However, just as any past invention, the Internet's impact on society in general and on language in particular has raised opposing standpoints. From the opposing camp, some think that the Internet threatens language on several levels. First, they argue that the Internet has caused considerable damage in terms of language usage and written proficiency. Second, they contend that the Internet threatens national borders through manifest foreign influence and hegemony. Third, on the level of language oppression, they allege that the Internet threatens the existence of linguistic minorities and the linguistic identity of oppressed communities and nations.

Taking into consideration everything said, a hypothesis has been put forward that the influence of the Internet is so great that that this process leads to the creation of a new language- the Internet language. Though, some may look upon it as a professional slang.

The aim of the work is to analyze the Internet vocabulary and find out the degree of its impact on the English language.

The methods of the work are:

  1. Questionnaire

  2. Collecting of information

  3. Comparative analysis

  4. Generalization

We also would like to find out if the usage of this vocabulary is widely spread with students and if it influences their language habits.(Supplement 1) I consider this topic timely as nowadays

great attention is paid to language literacy and as the Internet appeared only in 1982 year, the problem is new and it gives a wide field of investigation.

Main part.

To find out if the pupils of my class and the students of our gymnasia use computer vocabulary, what they think about the appearance of the words- abbreviations, we gave them a questionnaire (supplement 1). It showed us that 50% of boys and 25% of girls use computer vocabulary; the informal vocabulary is convenient for 57% of boys and 35% of girls. 75% of boys and 55% of girls use English words in their speech. 50% of boys and 60% of girls think that the new words that appear in the English language make it reacher. 60% of boys and 55% of girls use abbreviations in their written speech; 85% of boys and 80% of girls think that they write correctly.(Supplement 2)

The proponents think that the Internet as a flat space promotes learning, democracy, and cultural understanding. They argue that language change is inevitable and cannot be stopped because languages are open systems. Thus, change occurs as long as a language has a speech community. In many circles, including scientific, education, and business communities, English is seen as the lingua franca of the world. The proponents assert that

the Internet promotes efficient communication and bridges the gap between cultures and nations. Also, they suggest that, far from being the site of oppression, the Internet has promoted the revival of endangered languages strengthening and revitalizing speech communities.

However, how can we assert that the Internet, as the information highway of the twenty first century, is affecting speech and writing in a negative manner? Can we attribute to it all instances of language change, or is language change a natural occurrence in any speech community? Or is the Internet merely another social environment conducive to community building, where people develop their modes of communication and language skills in the same way that they have done through traditional means throughout human history? Regardless of any position we might take, the Internet remains a positive force for social change and its impact on language is far from being negative. Cyberspace has provided a positive platform that is conducive to massive contact, community building, and language change and shift.

From almost total obscurity the Internet has swiftly leapt into our lives covered almost all the spheres of human activity, from shop to work, from research to rebellion.

The Internet as an information and communication platform has become essential in our daily life. Existing side by side with other media, the latest mass medium has changed our communicative behavior enormously. Personal Computer (PC) Internet users know that it is possible to find different kinds of texts in it: fiction, academic writing and mass media - practically all possible existing types of texts. Of special interest is communication between people in the Internet and the different types of Websites. The so-called electronic language has aroused great linguistic and psychological interest and attracts more and more attention of the linguists and psychologists who are really concerned with its possible influence on language and psychology in general.

Linguists are concerned with the influence this system may have on a living language. The Internet, in conjunction with radio and television, telephone communication and printed materials, creates the universal information net, which is called "Cyberspace" and all the people using the on-line communication are "Netizens" in this net (the word is easily associated with "citizens"). The regular users are "Webies", the new ones - "Newbies". The language we use in the net is "Netspeak".

People, unfamiliar with the mechanisms of On-line Communication and familiar with the conventions of offline communication, think that there can be no analogy of online communication with speech. Chatrooms and the like are too constrained by their response times and the slow speed of typing to be considered as a good analogy of speech. Regarding some broad pragmatic themes (communicative effectiveness, spamming, lurking, emoticons and abbreviations), the comparative brevity of on-line communication, its lack of formality and the inclusion of "framing", Web pages, e-mail and other mechanisms are too transient or easily modified to be equivalent to the printed word. This is a good example of one way that on-line and off-line communications differ.

Moreover, in the minds of many, Net Discourse is a little more than linguistic vandalism, illiterate on-line expression where grammar is gone and spelling is superfluous.

However, the language used on-line is that of real people of great diversity, whose output is largely unedited by proofreaders or publishers. The change of the language affects even people who never log on or use the letters AWHF in regular communication to ask "are we having fun?", or TMOT, that is "trust me on this". Unlike a library, the Internet is an interactive and dynamic world.

Giving a linguist's appraisal of Electronic Discourse, the well-known British linguist David Crystal points out that we are on the brink of the biggest revolution in language ever, that Netspeak, this is how he calls on-line language, is not a monolithic creation, but rather a disparate set of communication methods and types such as e-mail, chat rooms, Internet Relay Chat, World Wide Web pages, Websites etc. He suggests that on-line language is best viewed as a new species of interaction, a genuine "third medium" (besides the written and oral forms of English), which is evolving its own systematic rules to suit new circumstances.

He largely dismisses the common view that on-line communication is illiterate and dumbed-down language. He agrees that much of it is non-standard, playful, highly deviant in bending the usual rules of language, tolerant of typographic and spelling errors, and full of new words. But he is fascinated by its variety and innovation and takes a very positive view, suggesting that "The henomenon of Netspeak is going to change the way we think about language in a fundamental way, because it is a linguistic singularity - a genuine new medium".

According to Crystal technology bears gifts also for linguistic investigation: Netspeak is a new opportunity for academic study. He outlines the "once in a lifetime" opportunity offered by the emerging communication media. A new academic study of "Internet Linguistics" includes, at the very least, a comparative study of the style of different formats and the development of language change within these new media.

The Internet has become especially popular in this respect amongst the younger generations who have been brought up "computer literate" and are therefore not discouraged by any technicalities associated with it. The on-line community is recreated solely through the collective use of keyboards. Identity is created entirely through the use of language and typography on screen. Due to such technique the physical existence is nullified. Relationships are formed between participants in real-time without the prejudicial restrictions that would normally be derived by physical presence, such as age, gender, race, skin color, body language, facial expressions, clothes and so on.

Interlocutors in this medium can only retrieve information about each other from the text itself. Furthermore, this of course may not be an entirely accurate representation of the truth as the medium provides anonymity. Most notably the ability of chatters to graphically express emotions(lurking, emoticons) and simulate speech-phonology (through phonetic spelling) certainly gives the potential for gesturally and linguistically created social-tension to exist.

There is also clearly a lot of scope for the development of a prestige language variety. This could be determined grammatically, through syntax, ellipses, punctuation etc, lexically through lexicalization and through phrasal covert norms. The missing dynamics of the in-person interactive process, as well as heightened control over the timing and content of utterances means there is a greater sensitivity to how patterns of "speaking" are received. This creates a situation whereby contrary to regular Webchat users (Webies), the new ones (Newbies) will tend to overuse the conventions to which they are becoming accustomed in order to try to accommodate to their audience in the face of Webies.

Participants use all types of shortened forms simply to combat the limiting conditions of the medium itself. The use of syntactically-reduced forms: acronyms, symbols, word clippings are therefore purely for practical reasons – they reduce the time and effort necessary to communicate. Users therefore tend to produce utterances of an average of 6 words. Respect is given to those who can communicate the most information, whether direct or implied in the shortest amount of time. The mainstream lexis is reformed into hybrid, heteroglossic, exclusively narrow, covert norms, (relexicalisation as defined by Halliday M.A.K., 1978 and overlexicalisation as defined by Werry C.C., 1996) good examples of which are acronyms simulating laughter: lol (laughing out loud, is used to express general laugh), lmao (laughing my arse off, is reserved for something very amusing), rotflol (rolling on the floor laughing out loud, is used for something wild crazy and very amusing), and others like omg (oh my god), gtg (got to go) and so on.

Having a look at the above examples and not even going deep into the Computer-Mediated Communication, traditional thinkers will immediately agree that Internet Relay Chat is an antilanguage (as defined by Halliday M.A.K., 1978) and not the speech of an immense community (sometimes called antisociety) that employs different language varieties for purely practical reasons. (Stevenson J., 2005). Many people may not like this and they may be quite right but the fact is that the mode of technology imparts something of its nature to public experience; the extra linguistic reality is dictating its new rules and norms to the language.

From psychological point of view as a new environment Internet can have a potent effect on our behavior. It is a place where humans sometimes are acting and interacting rather strangely. Based only on newspaper headlines one who has never ventured online might think that Internet is overpopulated by people with psychological disorders, bizarre ideas and questionable motives and normal folk had better tread more cautiously. Yet, decades of research on human behavior in many different spheres show how minor tweaks in the environment can cause those "normal" people to behave differently. People who rate themselves as 100% cool can lose their cool in certain situations. Someone who scores high on kindliness and someone who generally behaves courteously towards people in person might lash out aggressively in a heated Internet flame war (an on-line argument that gets really nasty).

The very interesting information in this regard was recently published by Telegraph Media Group referring to the researches from Glasgow and Paisley universities who found that more than a third of workers are suffering from so called "email stress" as they are swamped with messages. Lead researchers Karen Renaud, a computer scientist from Glasgow University and psychologist Judith Ramsat of Paisley University surveyed almost 200 workers and found that more than a third – 34 per cent – check their in-box every 15 minutes and 64 per cent look more than once an hour. But monitoring software revealed that they looked more often, with some workers viewing their emails up to 40 times an hour.

"Our survey indicates the astonishing extent to which emails is embedded in our day to-day lives," they found. More than a third – 34 per cent – said they felt stressed by volume of emails and the need to reply quickly. A further 28 per cent said they felt "driven" when they checked their messages because of the pressure to respond. Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day longer before replying.

Miss Renaud said: "Email is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives." She advised workers to set aside a few dedicated times a day for reading emails to cut stress.

American psychologist Sherry Turkle came to very interesting conclusions in this field. It seems that during the observation of the behavior of people in the multi-user virtual environment she managed to make a significant step forward for the whole psychological science. Everybody in this environment can play the role of a virtual person. They can then communicate with each other (chat) and construct their own environments. Many people create more then just one virtual person there, often with different characteristics. The behavior of every person is in reality driven by several different personalities, which we are able (in opposite to schizophrenia) to realize. We can change them in the way that is similar to the way we change the tasks in windows on a screen of a computer. Psychoanalysis will probably have to accept this fact and build the real image of a person from several different points of view. The results of another American psychologist Howard Gardnerare very similar. He continued in previous research of human intelligence and came up with the proposition that we can't see the intelligence as one integral unit.

Psychological research reminds that the environment in which humans are behaving can and does affet the way they behave. Under the right circumstances almost everyone will do things that they themselves considerquite uncharacteristic. One of the first surprises for researchers investigating on line behavior was how disinherited people sometimes became and how their temper seemed to flare more easily as they interacted with other people. Preliminary research suggests that greater Internet use is associated with increases in loneliness and depression and also reductions in family communication and social involvement. These are warnings that even too much of a good thing might not be beneficial, especially when every home, classroom and business is heavily wired up. However many corners of Internet are filled with people who are willing to invest considerable time to help others in need. An enormous network of support groups flourishes on-line. The Internet is particularly useful for certain kind of support groups such as involving those who feel stigmatized by the society and who are

reluctant to share their concerns with people in their community and even family. On-line they can talk quite intimately with caring others who share their problems without risking real-life censure.

To sum up, it can only be added that no force can hinder the present social and technological progress and the Internet is a vivid result of such developments and achievements. In spite of combating and denying it, the society in general and the educationalists and psychologists in particular should do their best to teach the younger generations the traditional norms of behavior and speech and only on this firm basis the letters can be free in their choice to make use of any type of communication though considered to be harmful.

From linguistic point of view Net Lingua is much like slang: one must know when and where to use it. From psychological point of view it should be borne in mind: the subject we are in contact with is not a living creature but computer and technologies do influence human behavior in their direction.


The general consensus is that the Internet will accelerate ongoing changes in languages and affect the cultural attitudes, norms, and values of the Internet users. However, the debate over whether or not this change is positive is an unending one because it touches societal issues that deal with our inability to face changes and our intolerance to anything different from our prescriptive mentality.

Nonetheless, the Internet remains a positive tool for language acquisition, learning a second language or a foreign language as it facilitates contacts with native speakers despite locations and distances. The Internet has not caused negative language change but has provided a good platform that is conducive to massive contact, community building, and language change and shift.

Change in itself is a natural occurrence as long as there are speech communities. Therefore, in the words of Franklin Roosevelt, we really have nothing to fear except fear itself. In the world of bits and bytes, similarly to the world of mortar and bricks, English is doing fine and does not need anyone to defend it. Languages are open systems that change from within and from without as long as they are alive.

The work on this topic can be continued later as the period of its development is very short as the fields where Internet is used is getting more numerous, its influence on the language will become deeper and will cover all the language aspects.

Список использованной литературы:

    1. Г. Гумовская «LSP. English of Professional communication Английский язык профессионального общения»-М.: Аспект Пресс, 2008

    2. В. Д. Аракин «История Английского языка» - М.: ЛКИ, 2010 г.

    3. Language and the Internet, DAVID CRYSTAL: Published by the press syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 2011; The Pitt Building, Trumpington street, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

    4. The Internet and language change. Dec 18th 2014 by R.L.G.| NEW YORK

    5. http://www.internetworldstats.comstats7.htm

    6. http://www.br.com.uaarticles34

    7. http://www.gurunken.rukatal297.html

Supplement 1 (questionnaire)

Употребляете ли вы лексику из компьютерных игр? Если да, приведите примеры.___________________________________________________________________________

Неформальная лексика(мат) является для вас более удобным способом выражения эмоций?___________________________________________________________________

Вам комфортнее употреблять в интернет- общении англоязычные слова?___________________________________________________________________________

Употребляете ли вы в устной речи устной речи англоязычные слова?___________________________________________________________________________

Комфортно ли вам употреблять в слова-сокращения?__________________________________________________________________

Общаясь в интернете, вы пишите грамотно? Если нет, то стараетесь делать это?__________________________________________________________________________

Supplement 2

Use computer vocabulary

50% of boys

25% of girls

Vocabulary is convenient

for 57% of boys

35% of girls

Use English words in their speech

75% of boys

55% of girls

Think that the new words that appear in the English language make it reacher

50% of boys

60% of girls

Use abbreviations in their speech

60% of boys

55% of girls

Think that they write correctly

85% of boys

80% of girls