The internet is changing language less than curmudgeons fear

WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY doing to language? Many assume the answer is simple: ruining it. Kids can no longer write except in text-speak. Grammar is going to the dogs. The ability to compose thoughts longer than a tweet is waning.

Language experts tend to resist that gloom, noting that there is little proof that speech is really degenerating: kids may say “LOL” out loud sometimes, but this is a marginal phenomenon. Nor is formal writing falling apart. Sentences like “OMG WTF William teh Conqueror pwned Harold at Hastings in 1066!” tend to be written by middle-aged columnists trying to imitate children’s supposed habits. A study by Cambridge Assessment, a British exam-setter, found almost no evidence for text-speak in students’ writing.