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Survey of the Effects of Technology on Language

  • Date Submitted: 05/07/2011 12:21 AM
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Survey of the Effects of Technology on Language

By survey, technology and language are inextricably related1, but under what definitions, and how might the relationship fare under stricter ones? In order to understand the affects of Technology on Language, we must first define both Language and Technology as theoretic constructs, as well as the more apparent languages and technologies which shall weigh more heavily as evidence. We look first to the popular definition, wherein Language refers almost entirely to the products of the linguistic capabilities of humans (language, n. (and int.), 2011). However applicable that may be to the general study of languages, it fails to capture an important pair of generalizations: Language is not unique to humans2; Language, defined more formally3, has nothing to do with production or communication. In linguistics, the most widely accepted formal social definition of Language reduces the scope to defining idiolects (Chiffi, 2011), as nothing above the individual level can be agreed upon (Green, 2002). That said, we must view language the social construct, rather than the grand abstraction, that we might better see how technology affects society with respect to language. Technology, as with Language, is commonly defined with respect only to human achievements, and even then, only to the fruits thereof. However, unlike Language, talk of technology with respect to other species is more common, and the study of Technology as a


That is, based on replies to “How does Technology affect Language?” by a statistically insignificant selection of mainly undergraduates attending UNC-CH, and several highly unscientific survey via Google. I acknowledge this methodological flaw, but the final conclusion should remain valid. 2 That is, there is no consensus on whether or not certain language-like constructs in other species or in machines qualify as demonstrating linguistic ability, or if they simply appear to be so. See (Chomsky,...


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