Social media: The latest stage of language evolution

Global Trends, Technology, Translation & Localization18 November 20143.4k

Do you follow any vloggers? Have you been forced to unfriend anyone lately? Have you any idea what I'm talking about?

For the young people of today, social media has an effect on almost every facet of their lives, including language. The popularity of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube has led to a whole new series of words being developed.

Indeed, the last ten years has seen a lot of neologisms, acronyms and abbreviations. While a few years ago a hashtag was merely a button on a keyboard or phone, it is now one of the most powerful forms of cultural expression. 

Similarly, the act of taking a picture of yourself is now known as a selfie and such is its near ubiquity that it was named as 2013's Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. 

Social media is changing language

As so much of the text we read is now on laptops and computers, technology is helping language to evolve. 

"From the introduction of new words to new meanings for old words to changes in the way we communicate, social media is making its presence felt," a blog on the Oxford Dictionaries stated. 

With an average of 1,000 words added to the English language every year, it's clear this trend is not going to stop anytime soon. In fact, social media makes it easier than ever before to take part in the evolution of a language, as people are constantly looking for new ways to accurately explain their digital-based actions. 

As we've pointed out before, social media does provide a challenge to localization projects, as maintaining context and relevance in only 140 characters when translating into a new language can be tricky. 

But with around 200 billion tweets sent per year, which equates to roughly 6,000 tweets every second, it's a challenge the industry will have to rise to. 


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