Paper finds that new technology is causing the largest shift in language since 1900

IM programs driving “new linguistic renaissance”

Instant Messengers programs are driving the largest change in linguistics since the early 20th Century according to a new report in New Scientist.

According to the report’s authors Derek Denis and Sali Tagliamonte of the University of Toronto, IM programs are driving "an expansive new linguistic renaissance".

"IM is interactive discourse among friends that is conducive to informal language, but at the same time, it is a written interface which tends to be more formal than speech," claimed Dennis. He added that: "although IM shared some of the patterns used in speech, its vocabulary and grammar tended to be relatively conservative."

The research considered over one million words of written chat and 250,000 spoken words used by 72 people aged between 15 and 20.

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