In August, I wrote a blog about hippie-era slang that coincided with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock . I explained how speech has always been a principle medium for cultures to define and differentiate themselves. Today, it is clear to linguists and laymen alike that people are incorporating language that reflects their online activity into offline speech. For example, “LOL” or “BRB” have been commonplace in everyday speech for years due to instant and text messaging. Then, social networking officially transformed the word “friend” into a verb. And phrases like, “It was nice to meet you,” are now synonymous with, “I’ll Facebook you.”
With the mass integration of technology into daily communication and omnipresence of the internet, I believe that there is now an inability for this younger generation to truly define their culture via speech.
Slang words that could once define specific geographic origins and subcultures can now find their way to foreign and multigenerational ears and mouths because the internet knows no bounds. Websites such as urbandictionary.com propagates slang to anyone with an internet connection. For instance, surfer-speak like, “stoked” or “gnarly,” can now be heard regularly in land locked areas like Kansas and New Mexico.
The world is certainly moving towards an English speaking homogeny, but could it be moving towards a singular English slang as well?