Is technology changing language and the way we think?

January 7, 2015 6:13 pm

MVI-New-Technologies

Let’s pretend it’s 1993. What would you think of the statement “Please google that”? You would probably go like “Google? What?!”. Oh yeah, because back in 1993 Google didn’t even exist. And this is how history plays with language: it changes it. Because it’s natural for languages to evolve. Internet and new technologies are just speeding up the process.

Think about all those company names that have become a way of doing something involving any product that is similar. A simple example could be “to hoover”, which came from the spread of vacuum cleaners from the Hoover Company. Or, as mentioned before, “to google” something, which has become a generic word meaning “to search the Internet” with any search engine, not just Google itself.

But googling has become much more than just the mere act of typing words into a text box and clicking a button. And this is what should concern us: the way computers and mobile phones are changing our attitudes toward language. We now understand the subtext when someone declares “I have googled you” or even that they have googled themselves. The point is that this act can now exert a powerful effect. Not only it changes how we form opinions on others but it also led the European Union to formulate specific laws, for example, giving individuals rights over search engine companies to have information hidden from users.

So it is easy to understand how new technologies are changing not only the way we speak, but also, and more importantly, the way we think.

 

Check out this interesting article by Zoe Kleinman for BBC News for a deeper look.

 

By Sabina Grixoni

Editor and Social Media Strategist

Communication Trainee at TermCoord

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