Blogging and language

I’m reading a new book called The Stories of English by David Crystal. He
makes the valid point that a particular style of English tends to spring up
where there is a good deal of social interaction in a tight network. His
example is the scriveners of Paternoster Row near St Pauls cathedral in
London. Their tight social network and the large number of documents they
produced was a significant factor in the emergence of a Standard English in
the fourteenth century.

Fast forward to the present day and we have another tight social network
whose writing has a disproportionately large and influential audience. I
wonder if we will see the conventions of blog writing becoming an
identifiable dialect of English that persists beyond the current blogomania?
I certainly modify my language to make it more internationally friendly by
avoiding formations that I know are local to my part of the world. Words
like blogosphere, technorati, blogmeet need no explanation to anybody used
to reading blogs, but they would be incomprehensible to anybody who doesn’t.

Hopefully some postgrad is thinking about this right now! I don’t know if
there is a repository of old postings so he or she could measure how
long-time bloggers’ language changes over time, and how quickly new bloggers
pick up the rhythms and cadences of blogspeak.

Blogging about blogging is self-referential and in general to be discouraged
so please forgive this one post. I won’t mention it again.


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