Is the Internet killing English?

How is English changing?

For tough questions like these, you need a linguistic detective. Luckily, we found one.

Linguist Daniel Midgley has a chat to sociolinguist Sali Tagliamonte on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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This show was a real role reversal because I was in the chair, operating the deck, and Ben was sitting in my usual seat. But I think you’ll find we got used to it.

We were talking to Sali Tagliamonte, who’s a sociolinguist from the University of Toronto. Not only do we hose down the idea that English is in danger of its speakers, we also talk about how language is different depending on who you are, who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and of course what communication medium you’re using. Wow — and yet somehow we manage.

Show notes

“Twerk Fail”: A prank by Jimmy Kimmel which was anything but haphazard. Or is that half-hazard? He says it at 0:05.

Sali Tagliamonte’s home page

She studies language on the Internet

and English in Toronto

and in remote areas as part of the Ontario Dialects Project.

She’s also studied the convergence of there was and there were. (PDF)

And she’s been elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Young women are language trendsetters

at the forefront of ‘vocal fry’.

Show tunes

‘Young Adult’ by the Voltaire Twins
from the album Young Adult

‘Watching the Detectives’ by Elvis Costello
from the album My Aim Is True