Two recent articles highlight the divide in this fascvinating area of language usage and change. In one, the BBC news website looks at how office workers find themselves baffled by the jargon around computer technology (although a quick look at some of the troublesome terms would suggest to me that they're just being a bit lazy!). An article back in April picks up some of the same themes and is a worthwhile read as background to the whole issue of jargon and occupational Englishes.
Meanwhile, in an article in The Independent about China - the world's most rapidly-developing economy - the divide between computer users and their new slanguage is causing concern to guardians of linguistic purity in the media and government:
As internet chat and instant messaging increasingly become a part of life for China's computer-literate youth, the use of internet slang has grown and adoption of the terms has permeated all areas of Chinese life.Like so many debates about language change, attitudes to change remain in an awkward flux, caught between embracing exciting new language - and the currency that holds in the world's marketplace - and an uneasiness about how the new language is altering the essence of the old language, and leaving a whole generation behind.
On the Web, internet slang is convenient and satisfying, but the mainstream media have a responsibility to guide proper and legal language usage," the Shanghai Morning Post quoted Xia Xiurang, the chair of the culture committee of the Shanghai People's Congress, as saying.
Ms Xia said: "Our nation's language needs to develop, but it also needs to be regulated." Although she said there is no reason these words could not be used in other settings, she made it clear the use of the words in an official capacity will not be tolerated. She made no reference to how the ban, which is being drafted, would be enforced.
ENA5 - Language Change
ENA3 - Using Language
EA4C - Language Investigations