Lots of Language

Field Notes headerThis week’s articles focus on language — the ways it’s changed (or not), the ways its codes shape human interaction, and the ways digital media has (or hasn’t) affected our consumption of language.

Like, Degrading the Language?  No Way

The New York Times makes the provocative argument that language isn’t in a perpetual state of decline, even though LOL, totally, and like have invaded popular speech.  Instead, Columbia professor John McWhorter claims that “amid what often seems like the slack-jawed devolution of a once-mighty language, we can find evidence for, of all things, a growing sophistication.”

Sometimes Getting Along Comes Down to How You Say ‘Gravy’

NPR examines the case of feuding airport workers in the 1970s:  a group of cafeteria workers hailing largely from India and Pakistan openly resented and felt discrimination from a group of baggage handlers. The post goes on to attribute their squabble to a difference in language codes and explores the ways these codes undergird much of human interaction.

Far From Messing With Our Brains, The Internet Has Set Our Minds Free

This article from The Telegraph is an antidote to the proliferation of articles and blogs claiming the internet has ruined our ability to think and to read.  Bryony Gordon takes the opposite tack, listing ways that the internet has been undervalued in other publications.

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