Crispin Turlow

​Professor (Language and Communication), Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences University of Washington, USA

Digital discourse and new language ideologies: (Dis)locating English

Popular/public discourse is, it seems, determined to present digital discourse as a kind of linguistic revolution by which young people, in particular, are seen to be destroying the norms of standard English and rewriting the rules of English grammar, spelling and punctuation. This kind of “new language” ideology inevitably says more about widespread values, attitudes and prejudices towards young people than it does about actual linguistic facts or realities. It certainly flies in the face of empirical evidence which reveals a much more complex, interesting story about English/language in new media. Indeed, the nature of digital discourse means that we ourselves are having to rethink some of our “expert” beliefs about not only English but about language in general. In other words, it seems the time has come for language scholars to reflect on our own language ideologies and maybe to come up with some new ones. To this end, this talk examines the place and politics of English in the new media with regards to four analytical, but empirically grounded frames.

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