28 September 2010

Post 231

I was listening to a radio station that played "Nights in White Satin" and "Stairway to Heaven" in the same set. Shockingly, those weren't the only two songs they played.

This post is a waste of space....

22 September 2010

Post 230

It's commonly accepted in the linguistic community (at least in my narrow experience in that community) that all language changes but that spoken language changes much more quickly than written language and that writing has historically slowed down language change (at least in English; come to think of it, I know nothing about the history of other languages). Thanks to our standardized spelling system, this is easy to see: surprise is still spelled s-u-r even though few people pronounce that r anymore; special is still spelled c-i even though everyone I've ever heard say it has pronounced it sh; every is spelled as though it's still pronounced with three syllables; mission and related words--well, we've just come to accept s-i-o-n as an alternate spelling of "shun," ignoring entirely the fact that it was once pronounced as it is spelled. The list goes on. People often complain about how our language isn't very phonetic, but I think they fail to realize that we'd have to update our spellings of words at least once every generation to keep the phonetics up. Personally, I'm grateful for standardized spelling because it makes Google and other information-age technology work so well; sure, I think the language could have been standardized a little better (drop the a out of feather like Noah Webster suggested, spell corn and kernel the same way, etc.), but standardization is good in general (in this regard, at least).

(This, not surprisingly, is not at all what I intended to talk about. Welcome to my blog.)

ANYway, as I was listening to some songs on YouTube today, I had a spark of hypothesis that I'd like you to weigh in on. This is purely speculative, and I doubt it'll be possible to study this for at least another 40 or 50 years, but I wanna write this down so maybe some day someone will stumble across this and think, "Wow. That kid was on to something. Wish I knew more than just his nym." So here goes--

I enjoy reading comments on YouTube. They often get far removed from the subject of the video. Because I'm not on FaceBook or Twitter and because I'm in the class of people who punctuates text messages, YouTube threads are really my only exposure to typical online communication, and it fascinates me!

Today I realized that, in the modern world, written language is changing faster than spoken language, and I wonder if it will start affecting the way people speak. I mean, if I walk into a fast food joint, walk up to the counter, and say, "I can has cheeseburger?" that certainly wouldn't fall into the realm of normally accepted American English, but if I see a video on YouTube in which a guy walks into a fast food joint and orders a burger, I could leave a comment that says, "i can haz cheezeberger" and be totally appropriate.

Now, sure, I admit that quoting pop culture is nothing new, but the fact is that YouTube threads aren't always quoting lolcatz--in fact, most times people aren't quoting anything; they're just typing. Sometimes, I come across a comment that is totally unintelligible to me. (I don't have time to look for one right now; perhaps I should start collecting them.)

I'm not suggesting the change will happen very quickly--and I'm not even sure what the change will be. I mean, a lot of the change is solely visual (e.g. you are-->ur), so that can't really come through speaking, and I don't really hear people saying things like lol, etc. It's mostly grammatical, I guess. Subject-verb agreement is often ignored, and I think it's on purpose: I don't imagine the people who type things like "27 ppl is retarted" on a video with 27 dislikes on it would say such a thing out loud, but I certainly don't know that for sure.

Anyway. Gotta go.

03 September 2010

Post 229


So my blog has this problem for some reason that, whenever I try to embed a YouTube video, I only end up with the left half of the video frame, even when I choose the smallest frame size.

But take my word for it, this is pretty awesome.

(Also, my links are invisible in my current layout--another thorn in my side. So click on 'this is pretty awesome' even though it doesn't look much like a link.)