Lg and media (was "Like" abuse redivivus)

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Apr 15 05:37:11 UTC 2008

When the principal input in 1st lg acquisition is TM texts, I will
begin to worry.

On the other hand, us sociolinguists have long debunked the
media-writing-and other non face-to-face influences on what we see as
important in the development of language (with the obvious exception
of what one might call "fashionable" use). Alas, things ain't what
they used to be (when more people than just me spoke Standard
English), and now we are beginning to reassess the influence of such
widespread lg contact on developing systems. The notion of one's
repertoire containing such vagaries as "performance modes" and
imitations of romanticized minority tidbits requires serious
attention, and we have been unwilling to give it until very recently.
There is a growing industry within sociolinguistics about just this
question; I hope only that it does not lure students away from the
collection of what I still regard as the primary data, and I still
make students (in my geezerish ways) conduct at least one
"sociolinguistic interview" before they begin to hop off to the
analysis of media usage. Brave new world.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Katharine The Grate <KatharineTheGrate at COMCAST.NET>
>Subject:      Re: "Like" abuse redivivus
>        Claims that young people are inarticulate have been around for
>>  awhile.  I suspect that, while these claims doubtless are overstated,
>>  there is something to them; I certainly think that I'm more articulate now
>>  than I was 30 years ago.
>What do you (all) think about the worry that texting messages is destroying
>the English language?
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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