Jennifer G.J1*, Padmaragam2 and Lakshminarayana V3
1Associate Professor and HOD, H&S, Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology, Paiyanoor, Chennai, India
2Assistant Professor, Department of English, Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology, Paiyanoor, Chennai, India
3Principal, Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology, Paiyanoor, Chennai, India
Received Date: 17 June, 2017 Accepted Date: 22 August, 2017
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There are many languages in the world. Some are dead languages, long forgotten; some languages belong to the oral tradition, out of use and dead. Some are lost and some are unused. Languages survive the changes of time because of certain reasons. Only those languages spoken by a large population can withstand the drastic and dramatic changes of the world. English is one language that not just survives but thrives in today’s world. There is a huge unbelievable rush and mania to learn English. One reason for this is its ability to flourish in the worlds of technology. This paper looks deeply into three aspects of the above theme. One is the adaptability of English in the world of technology; secondly, evolution of English language through the influence of technology and last, the future of Language in the rapidly developing world of technology.
Language, Technology, English Mania, Evolution, Adaptability, Coining
The world throughout its landscape for many civilizations has seen the rise and fall of mighty and humble civilizations along with the languages they had given birth to. Some languages had even survived the ruin of the civilization which had given it life. However due to meager usage it had later vanished from the history. Some languages are called ‘Dead’ languages because there are no native speakers of these languages. These languages later become extinct language because no one speaks the language. Some are called ‘romantic’ languages. Some are given mighty positions as language of the courts, religion or poetry. And of course one language dominates the world of business and technology and has been named as universal language- English. It is now the global Lingua Franca.
It is estimated that there are almost 7000 languages in the world. But the sad fact is that it is estimated that many of theses languages will disappear permanently in the next 80 to 90 years. The main reason is the domination and prominence of the economically powerful languages. The top 20 languages of the world are spoken by 50% of the world’s population. That leaves a very negligible number of users for each of the other languages used in the world.
English language and evolution
English is a West Germanic language spoken in early medieval England. It was obviously influenced by Germanic languages at the initial stage and later by romantic languages like Latin and French. It is spoken as official language in more than 60 states and the most widely learnt second language. It is almost 1400 years old and is divided into old, middle and modern English. One must wonder how a language quite old has not just survived but has become the language of the world while other similar and older languages have perished.
Adaptability and flexibility
English is a very adaptable and flexible language. It is not easy for a language to thrive in this fast changing world. English stated its spread into other continents through the British Empire. Wherever British Empire ruled English language put its root down and slowly modified itself to the native, culture, climate and customs. Unlike many languages it was not rigid and was willing to accommodate many new words for the sake of communication (http://www.popsci.com/qa-withjohn- mcwhorter-on-future-language) .
English had highly modified itself according to the new colony and its demand that later there needed to be some distinction between the original English of Britain and the others. Therefore English came to be identified as British English, American English, Australian English and so forth. It gained a distinctive flavor in vocabulary, accent, pronunciation, spelling and Usage.
Since Education system of British Empire was also established in these countries, English became the language of Education, and similarly the language of Law, Governance and Science (http:// www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S1877042815045632).
Borrowing and coining
English has no regrets in borrowing words from other/native languages and make it as its own. It is not something new and English has been in the practice of borrowing from other languages for the past 1000 years. English Language has loan words and calques from many influential languages and still keeps borrowing words (https://www.yahoo. com/tech/scientists-predict-ai-allow-us-220654997. html).
Language in technology
It is agreed that English is the Lingua Franca of the world. By the same extension it can be stated that English is the language of Technology. Imagine a world such as ours where everyday inventions are the talk of the town. What was new yesterday becomes replaced by a more creative and innovative product the next day. Things that humans had never dreamed of possible become a reality on a day today basis. The most unimaginable, impossible becomes a possibility.
This scenario needs new vocabulary to describe it, explain it and name it. Imagine all the languages in a race to describe, explain and name it as new inventions, technologies come about at such rapid speed. It is an impossible task. But English does it. It coins words, modifies, borrows takes on loan and manages to bring new terms and vocabulary into use. The most important point is that it is accepted (Gee, 1996).
This may be due to the reason that English is also the language of the internet. The World Wide Web connects the world. The world of information is very influential and crucial and being the language of the internet English is influential.
Vocabulary in social network
With the advent of the internet abbreviations have gained prominence. The author was bewildered when she was introduced to social network. All the abbreviations and smiley faces (emoji) filling up the chats looked Greek and Latin. The conclusion was that English like other languages is going to die and a meaningless form or should one call it language is going to become the dominant form of communication (Figure. 1).
Instant vocabulary and instant popularity are a norm of this technology. WTF as an abbreviation is tolerated than the full form. LOL has gained a new meaning. Sometimes a message becomes a puzzle to be broken to be understood. Key board brevity has given rise to too much abbreviation in this type of communication. ‘To Google’ has become a verb, which no one 20 years back would have known. Smart phones have simplified language to such an extent that even learned people have forgotten to spell simple words. Grammar is not a necessity. All these lead to the fear that the younger generation is butchering English and it is going to die a quick death.
However slowly the realization came into being that people are aware of the difference between the language of the smart phone and language for other occasions. With a sigh of relief, the author then turned her attention on how this interferes with the development of the language and was frankly amazed that this was also in some way contributing to the survival of the English language.
Languages change. It is inevitable that English language changes with the development of technology. There might be a new language in the future. It might not be surprise if English is the language of the future world. Might not be much recognizable compared to its present form but still English.