Language and the Internet Hardcover – 31 Aug 2006
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
"This book provides an important look at how the Internet has affected our use of language. To my knowledge, there are no other comparable books available on this subject. Issues of language are certainly treated in many other books about the Internet, but this one features linguistics as its main topic. The book will be an important contribution." Patricia Wallace, Ph.D., Director, Information Services and Instructional Technologies Center for Talented Youth, The John Hopkins University Author, The Psychology and the Internet
In recent years, the Internet has come to dominate our lives. Covering a range of genres, including e-mail, chat, and the Web, David Crystal reveals how the Internet is radically changing how we use language. Engaging and accessible, this book will continue to fascinate anyone who has used the Internet.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
The author clearly knows sociolinguistics very well and it is worthwhile reading the book just for that. However, his knowledge of the internet is weaker and often he relies on secondhand information that he is not able to evaluate well. This shows up in some of the more extensive quotes, repeated without much critical evaluation. For example, he frequently quotes 'Wired Style', only once (I think) refers to the Jargon File (without even working out who esr is) and doesn't mention RFC 1855.
There is not much original research here. For example, the chapter on email is based mainly on the author's own email correspondence, which is bound to be atypical. It would have been much more interesting to see if different communities, for example sampled from mailing lists, really used different varieties of language.
In some places it would be hard to distinguish between the language used in the internet and the language used by social scientists to describe the internet, between 'trolling' or 'boxen' and 'computer mediated communication' or 'cyberculture'. In others the author seemed unaware of features of the internet. For example, he does not seem to be aware that users can control how web pages appear or list emails by thread. Occasionally he gets terms wrong.
This is not a book to buy if you wish to learn the language (or rather languages) of the internet, but it is a very readable introduction to sociolinguistics applied to technology with some very plausible conclusions about where and how the internet will affect our use of language.
I found this book reasonably approachable, and the examples given help 'bridge the gap' between those in communications or language studies and those who might only have a passing interest or knowledge and are looking for more information.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
What I find most interesting about Crystal's approach to the early netspeak of chatrooms and electronic conferencing is that his research aims to reclaim the usefulness of linguistic adaptation. Through his scholarly citations, he discusses the formations of digital communities known as hyperpersonal vs. interpersonal or (face to face.) The use of these speech communities work to form an inclusive realm of "Netizens" or net/web users. The language expressed is comparable to regional dialects in that they are only accepted by certain people in certain locales. As chatrooms, e-mail and chat clients began as an early medium for hyperpersonal interactions, they have since blossomed into a cultural psycho-social phenomenon in which creativity is at the heart. Sure there is a lack of linguistic structure, form and spelling but is that necessarily a bad thing amongst new studies that suggest children may be less creative and less stimulated than ever before. For those who choose to embrace the digital era, there are might be more to say in terms of social progress than for those who reject it.
Yes, like many of the other reviews mentioned Language and the Internet can feel dated even though many of these studies have taken place within the last two decades. However many ways to interpret the material that Crystal presents, it is important to understand that the culmination of research highlights in one way or another the progressive tendencies of human nature. The only reason this serves as an introductory piece because of the principles of Moore's Law which states that the amount of processors on affordable CPU'S will double every two years. Within the past 10 years, the number of transistors in CPU'S has gone from 37.5 million to over 2.5 billion. While this type of tech speak is not contained in Crystal's account of digital language, it is an intriguing arena for debate. While written language has only gone though 3 revolutions over thousands of years, the digital revolution changes almost daily. The juxtaposition of language and digital technology opens up an intriguing discussion that begins more than a decade ago in Language and the Internet.
To add fuel to the fire, as I write this review, many of the commonly used terms we use today that pertain to the Internet are highlighted for spell check. As dictionaries add nearly 800 words a year, the majority of them will most certainly be Internet related.
My one major concern for this text is that as Moore's Law continues its reign on enabling better, faster and more efficient technologies, the terminology and certain examples will be obsolete and incredibly distant to even the current generation of young Internet users. For those who have been around during the dotcom era, this is a must read exploration into the technologized and digital direction that global language is taking.
Crystal admits up front that his aims with this book are modest -- basically, he wants to ask whether the Internet has affected language and language use. Um, well, yeah it has.
But he never answers the question that my undergraduate English professor made us ask of all of our paper theses--So what? Why/how do these changes matter? What larger significance do they have? As a linguist, Crystal isn't perhaps so interested in social or political commentary, but never was there such a disembodied look at language. It's as though because the words appear on a screen, we don't need to think about the social, political, or economic pressures that influence these "language communities" he's looking at. He admits that market forces are driving which languages get to be used in the "global village" but then acts as if that fact is of little consequence.
Crystal's method is best described as descriptive--but he doesn't have much to describe, as his sample for analysis includes his own email as well as that of his two children. And as far as I can tell, he doesn't attempt to tie in these changes to any kind of linguistic theory (with the exception of his use of Grice to explain the cooperative nature of conversation). I'm also struck by the lack of evidence that he's read in this area at all--no citation of Sherry Turkle, for example, whose work would have been informative for the whole chapter he spends on MUDs.
If you know next to nothing about Internet-related communication (email, web pages, MUDs) then this book would be a good introduction for you (hence the title of this post). Viewed as an very introductionary text, I'd probably give this a slightly higher rating, because it is clearly written.
The book discusses the effects of the Internet on language, specifically English. Anyone who has spent any length of time online has noted that the language used online is a strange mix of formal and informal, abbreviations and highly-specialised jargon. How does this effect the language as a whole? Crystal does not pretend to answer this question, but raises questions for later research.
As with any book that discusses an aspect of the Internet, some pieces of the book are out-of-date. Search engines are more robust than when Crystal surveyed them. MUDs are essentially dead, replaced in part by massively-multiplayer online games that have their own linguistic ramifications.
In all, this book is an interesting and clearly-written broad introduction to the application of linguistics to the Internet. It is not an advanced text, although the nearly-exhaustive footnotes and citations are an excellent resource for a reader who would like to learn more.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Computing & Internet > Digital Lifestyle > Online Shopping > Amazon
- Books > Computing & Internet > Programming > Interface Design
- Books > Computing & Internet > Programming > Languages & Tools
- Books > Computing & Internet > Software & Graphics
- Books > Reference > Language
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Linguistics > Reference
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Linguistics > Sociolinguistics