Language and the Internet
David CrystalISBN: 0521868599; 978-0-52186-859-4;
In this first book-length consideration of the Internet by a linguist, Crystal, whose Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and over 40 other books have established him as a leading authority on language, begins with the idea that the Internet is not just a technological revolution but a social one as well. The author reasons that language is central to the revolution and explores the role of language in the Internet and the effect of the Internet on language. In four central chapters, he details the significant linguistic features at work in the four major "situations" of the Internet: e-mail, chatgroups (including listservs and discussion groups), virtual worlds, and the web. He concludes that Netspeak (his word for the language of the Internet) is a new medium, "neither spoken language nor written language nor sign language, but a new language dimension computer-mediated language." Crystal sees Netspeak creating huge opportunities for the expansion and enrichment of language. This is...