Published: 14 July 2013
From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)...
Article excerpt: The Dutch renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus once railed against the introduction of the printing press, declaring: ‘printers fill the world with pamphlets and books that are foolish, ignorant, malignant, libellous, impious and subversive, and such is the flood that even things that might have done some good lose all their goodness.’
There are two things you need to remember about language: one is that it is always evolving; and the second is that its evolution is often controversial.
...‘In a matter of a few decades we have more than 6 billion mobile phones in the world, more than 2 billion internet connected computers,’ says Mr Chatfield [author of Netymology: From Apps to Zombies: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World]. ‘Suddenly the majority of human beings are playing some kind of active part in written culture. They are participating, if you like, as authors in a very small way.’
...The internet is a kind of ‘eternally unfinished collaboration’, one which pools together the words of millions and millions of people. ‘Language doesn't belong to us, language is something we build together,’ he says. ‘I think we are forced to realise that this kind of massive collaboration is not something we can stop, it's not something we can freeze, it's not something we can be definitive about—it's a constant negotiation.’
Link to the full news story here.
InterpretAmerica's take: Monday's story comes to us from "down under." It explores the ways digital communication is not just expanding our communication reach, but turning billions of us into daily "authors" where we increasingly mix the boundaries between written, oral, and visual language. Language is in a constant state of evolution. In the past, that evolution came through changes in verbal speech or new words introduced through published documents, whether newsprint, books, or magazines. Now billions of us communicate daily through a barrage of words, abbreviations, emoticons and pictures. We are learning to condense meaning into communication pathways that mix the written word with audio and visual in new ways. The implications for interpreters and translators are huge. How do we unpack this condensed meaning across languages? What conventions do we use? What platforms do we need when asked to be the bridge between two people who are communicating digitally and who don't speak the same language? Read this thought-provoking article and post a comment. We want to hear your ideas.