Abstract

 

The recent explosion of social networking and online communications, as a result of increasing popularity of social media platforms, has led to rapid and extensive changes in almost all aspects of our lives, specifically social, cultural, personal and professional lives. However, with increasing development of technology and increasing accessibility of internet for people across all countries and communities, the virtual world is continuously evolving. Virtual communications, through different channels like emails, texts instant messaging, chats, blogs and other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) has enabled easy and fast communications for the online users and hence heling establish social networks. However, with rapidly evolving communications, the existing English language, has not only become the lingua franca, but has also undergone serious changes. Primary changes include the increased frequency of using neologism like abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons. These neologisms are developed and popularised at an alarming speed, easily adopted by the younger generation, and hence forms an integral part of the computer mediated communications (CMC). Existing research points to the negative impact of such neologisms on the communication as well as technical language skills (spelling, syntax, structure and grammar) of online users who frequently use them. However, not much research has been done to determine the impact of development of neologisms on social and other factors of online users/netizens.

In the present study, the evolution of the modern English, along with the factors influencing the development of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons was studied. Following detailed literature review and a survey was conducted among Facebook users for the purpose of collecting primary data. Demographic profile studies of the collected data revealed that a majority of the respondents were young adults, female and in terms of professional distribution, students and entrepreneurs. In terms of influence on modern social media English, the factors demand for faster communications (through abbreviations and acronyms) and popularity of social media enabling faster adoption of new terms and overall English played a significant role. Also, in case of influence of England and America on the development of modern English, America’s influence post World War II and birth and spread of industrialization and IT sector to the rest of the world were found to have dominantly impacted the modern English. Furthermore, the social media/internet contributed to the development of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons as a result of demand for limited word count, inter-mingling of cultures and popularity influence of social media on young generation. The evolution of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons revealed the important contribution of online gaming sessions, keeping up with chatting speed and adding personal dimensions to impersonal messages. Lastly, the impact of the neologisms was found to have significant impact on syntax and grammar, communication skills and professional and cultural lives. The present research contributes expressively to the social media professionals as practical applications and to researchers for helping predict further changes that may happen in the coming years. Future studies can be conducted pertaining to impact of neologism use on social media marketing consequences and on determining the psychology of online users based on their usage of specific neologisms.