I’m really delighted to see that quite a few of my Y12 students have taken me up on my suggestion to start becoming part of the blogosphere by visiting language & literature related blogs and adding their comments. I’ve already come across some blogs I wasn’t already familiar with. Thank you James M, for example, for introducing me to the McMillan Dictionary Blog which will be especially useful for the Language Change part of ENGB3.
One thing that I’m interested in is how you view language use online in these kind of environments. You are all aware, even if you didn’t study language and technology as part of ENGB1 that in contexts such as text messaging, instant messaging, and to some extent email, there is a tendency towards increasing informality and a greater relaxation of the conventions of written standard English than is the case in most other writing contexts.
But what of blogging, and of comments on blogs? Do you expect bloggers to adhere to formal standard English? Does it make any difference who’s doing the blogging, for whom, and for what purpose?
What about comments on blogs? Is it OK for them to be more or less formal than the blog itself? How tolerant are you of ‘mistakes’ like obvious typos? What about features of language change influenced by technology? (use of emoticons, abbreviations, lower case where upper case has been traditionally expected, etc.)
Playing devil’s advocate, what would you say to someone from, The Queen’s English Society, who viewed Alex M’s comment on the ‘Bad Linguistics’ blog and spluttered that his use of lower case ‘e’ in ‘english’ is further proof that English teaching in schools has gone to the dogs. Or when Alex R commented on the ‘About Shakespeare’ blog, referring to ‘romeo’ and ‘shakespeare’, and made hurried typos like “he way he handles the situation is very well”, should he be admonished?
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m genuinely not criticising these posts. Far from it. But I am interested in opening a debate about you as young people of a different generation from me perceive appropriate English usage in the blogosphere. Constructive comments below, please!
[It may be worthwhile noting that I had to go back and edit some mistakes in the above post [twice!] after publishing it. Should I have bothered?]