Title

Virtual language contact: the internet and linguistic theory

Poster Number

7

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

In this research paper I examine the effects of virtual language contact on the English language as measured through the share of English language electronically stored information (ESI) on the Internet. I test two hypotheses: 1) The proportion of English language ESI on the Internet has decreased since 1996, and 2) Lexical linguistic change (borrowing) occurs through virtual language contact (Internet contact). A commonly cited estimate from 1996 is that 80% of ESI on the Interpret is in English. I evaluate this estimate by carrying out 226 word searches in 10 categories with the Google search engine. The ten categories analyzed are Noted Personalities, Dictionary Terms, Noncount Nouns, Business, Chemistry, Travel, Computer, Environment, Culture, and Law. I find that the current share of English language ESI on the Internet is approximately 55% with categorical proportions ranging from Culture at 38% to Noted Personalities and Chemistry terms at 63% and 65% respectively. I test the second hypothesis by analyzing the specific web pages of terms in categories that lie under the 55% mark. I find that Non-English languages are borrowing English terms in approximately 75% of the web sites falling under these categories. Further, I define linguistic theory as it applies to the Internet by showing how English maintains its presence as a global language through what I call passive influence and specific dominance. The analysis of the data confirms both hypotheses, and supports my argument for the expansion of linguistic theory to include virtual language contact.

Location

Pacific Geosciences Center

Start Date

20-4-2002 9:00 AM

End Date

20-4-2002 5:00 PM

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Apr 20th, 9:00 AM Apr 20th, 5:00 PM

Virtual language contact: the internet and linguistic theory

Pacific Geosciences Center

In this research paper I examine the effects of virtual language contact on the English language as measured through the share of English language electronically stored information (ESI) on the Internet. I test two hypotheses: 1) The proportion of English language ESI on the Internet has decreased since 1996, and 2) Lexical linguistic change (borrowing) occurs through virtual language contact (Internet contact). A commonly cited estimate from 1996 is that 80% of ESI on the Interpret is in English. I evaluate this estimate by carrying out 226 word searches in 10 categories with the Google search engine. The ten categories analyzed are Noted Personalities, Dictionary Terms, Noncount Nouns, Business, Chemistry, Travel, Computer, Environment, Culture, and Law. I find that the current share of English language ESI on the Internet is approximately 55% with categorical proportions ranging from Culture at 38% to Noted Personalities and Chemistry terms at 63% and 65% respectively. I test the second hypothesis by analyzing the specific web pages of terms in categories that lie under the 55% mark. I find that Non-English languages are borrowing English terms in approximately 75% of the web sites falling under these categories. Further, I define linguistic theory as it applies to the Internet by showing how English maintains its presence as a global language through what I call passive influence and specific dominance. The analysis of the data confirms both hypotheses, and supports my argument for the expansion of linguistic theory to include virtual language contact.