Digital Spell-checkers Killing Words?
Language is dynamic. That is one line that I have said one time too many, but no one can really deny its veracity. Whatever language you look at, it changes over time, with words dying and being born all the time.
But did you ever think that software that we take for granted may be contributing to the death of some words? This is what researchers found out after conducting an analysis of digitized text. The text featured languages such as English, Hebrew, and Spanish, and they dated from 1800 to 2008. Thanks to the digitization efforts of Google, the researchers were able to get hold of the materials for analysis.
The conclusion is simple and may also be cause for alarm: the death rate of words has seen a considerable increase. Even worse, it seems that the birth rate of new words has not increased significantly!
One reason that the researchers have highlighted is the use of automatic spell-checkers. You know, that tool that many of us rely on to catch the misspellings that we tend to make. While I have to admit that I rarely rely on the grammar suggestions, spell-checkers come in very handy especially if you have a long writing day ahead of you. You may have been the regular spelling bee champion in your school, but that doesn’t mean you do not make mistakes hammering on your keyboard. To be honest, a spell-checker is helping me out right now so I don’t have to waste time deleting and retyping words!
The problem is that in the era of digitization, automatic spell-checkers seem to contribute to deleting misspellings (which is not really a problem) and less common variants of words (now that can be a problem). With this going on for years and years, it is easy to see how words can disappear from the vocabulary of this generation and the next.
Via Discovery News
Image via CN-Printing