Millennial English

Millennials, or maybe just the Internet, is changing the way that we communicate, at least according to these people on Tumblr and this Mashable article.*

You may be thinking “teh /\/\i113|\||\|14l5 haven’t done anything that hasn’t been done before LOL ROFLCOPTER” and maybe you’d be right? It’s still interesting to think about the way that communication is changing in today’s Text Heavy and increasingly image based society.

From the article:

[Dr. Lauren] Fonteyn [of the University of Manchester]  says millennials are “breaking the constraints” of written English to “be as expressive as you can be in spoken language.” This new variant of written English strives to convey what body language, and tone and volume of voice can achieve in spoken English.

Fonteyn specifies a few ways Millennials are twisting English:

  • Atypical capitalization. Capitalization isn’t necessarily used traditionally: at the beginning of a sentence, for people or proper nouns. The letter “I” may not be capitalized, in order to “play down the person’s sense of self”. However, capitals are being used for emphasis, irony or mockery. This tweet from the article sums it up well:

  • Changes to expressive punctuation. For example, leaving the period off of a sentence may be neutral, using “..” means “continue” and “…” can indicate an “‘awkward or annoyed silence’ or ‘are you serious?'”.
  • Use of imagery or glyphs unavailable in spoken conversation, such as:

There are other examples of this:

Why it’s hot:

The way we communicate is changing. It’s neat to see the new ways people take language and twist it to new ends and meanings using the tools they’ve got.