Do the Americans and the British use the internet English in the same way?

The internet English: what, how, when and by whom?
Do the Americans and the British use the internet English in the same way? How is the internet changing fast the way we communicate? How are our classrooms, teaching and listening style changing due to the use of technology? What do we mean by a speech/writing and formality/informality continuum? How do the medium, the audience and the context condition the use of internet English? What do we mean by ‘speakerly writers and writerly Speakers’?
These are some of the issues discussed quite elaborately and convincingly by Professor Roland Carter yesterday at 7-30 pm IST when he addressed us in his webinar on ‘Internet English: The changing English language and its implications for teaching’. It was a highly stimulating and thought provoking academic discussion which kept the audience totally engrossed. Thanks to the IATEFL for organizing this highly informative and interesting discourse by one of the leading applied linguistis of the world who initiated me to Stylistics and the study of language during my Nottingham days 25 years back.
The internet has been changing English. Has it changed the language of the speaker who has studied the impact of the internet on the English language? A participant asked Ronald Carter. Responding to the question , a smiling Ron answered in the affirmative, “I’m more informal than I was twenty years back.’ How nice! The internet has its impact on all of us. It has made us more informal, more open and more creative in our use of language. It has a liberating influence on the users of a language.
Ron’s presentation echoes the views expressed by David Crystal in his book ‘Language and the Internet’ published in 2006. In his book, David Crystal argues that the internet has encouraged a dramatic expansion in the variety and creativity of English.
There is no denying the fact that the internet has been radically changing the way we use English. Internet language is a kind of writing that is close to speech but it is neither identical to speech nor writing. Ron cites a nice example: A: Gotta go. B: ttyl. C: talk to you soon. B: which means tomorrow, right? A: I’d forget that. B: Cos we’re seeing Davis. A: must go see you later alligator.
During his deliberation, Ron pointed out that the ‘needs of space and real time in twitter and SMS texts force users to use less hedging, more direct forms and more spoken/informal grammar.’ Similarly, the dialogic nature of the blogs make them more communicative, Ron stated.
The impact of the internet on the English language has a far reaching consequence on the future of English language teaching . As Ron points out, “ Digital technologies for communication bring the real world and authentic language into the classroom and take the class room into the real world.”
As the users of the internet, we must be familiar with the social and contextual differences of the internet English. British internet English uses a lot of vagueness than the internet English used by the Americans, Ron remarked in response to a question by a participant. What about the internet English of the non-native speakers of English? Well, that was outside the purview of the study referred to in the webinar. Again, ‘kisses’ are quite common in the texts and emails of the native speakers of English who use ‘kisses’ as discourse markers. What about the non-native speakers? Anyone interested in studying the nature of the internet English used by non-native users of English can undertake a project. Interested?
btw, IATEFL members will have access to this highly informative webinar. Therefore, if you are not a member yet, go to the site http://www.iatefl.org/ It will be an enriching experience.

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