WNW: New World, New Language
I'm willing to bet that English has changed more in the last 50 years—at least in terms of vocabulary—than during any other time, and that's thanks to technology.
We have brand new words and acronyms that never existed before (Internet, RAM, Meg, LCD, blog, vlog, PC, DVD, e-mail, snail mail, high-definition, and many, many more).
I'd bet my great-grandparents wouldn't understand half of my conversations because of the new words I'm using. ("I'm going to a bloggy lunch tomorrow . . ." Huh?)
On top of that, we have oodles of old words that have taken on completely different meanings than they used to have (monitor, text, mouse, scroll, web, tablet, code, display, spam, cell, and backup, to name just a few).
All these new words and meanings have had an interesting impact on our language. We even use technological terms when we aren't in technological settings.
When I was a kid playing with friends and needed to get a drink or use the bathroom, I'd tell them to "stop the game for a minute" or maybe to "hang on" or simply that, "I'll be right back."
My kids? They say, "Pause the game."
That used to mean a brief break in conversation, a breath, perhaps. ("She paused before going on . . .") Today, pausing is something you do to a DVD or video game.
But the current generation has taken the definition further: they can pause real-life events, stop them momentarily.
That's not something a person born in any previous generation would have come up with, but my kids (and their friends) use it all the time. I crack up whenever I hear it.
(They don't see what's so funny; it makes perfect sense to them.)
Thanks to DVRs, my kids know what "live" TV is, but they don't like it, because they can't "buzz" through the commercials with the "remote."
Texting lingo has even made its way into casual conversation like, "She's my BFF."
Any other examples come to mind? Pop 'em into the comments!