Has technology evolved our language beyond recognition?

You pick up your Blackberry in the morning because your notebook has a virus. You connect to your cloud storage and retrieve a few documents to store on your drive, and grab yourself a cup of Java.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

You pick up your Blackberryin the morning because your notebook has a virus. You connect to your cloud storage and retrieve a few documentsto store on your drive, and grab yourself a cup of Java.

I get emails every day, mostly ordinary commentary from like-minded people, but from time to time, you'll get an email from a "grammar Nazi"; someone who takes pleasure in ripping to pieces what you've written because you wrote "their" instead of "there". Well this one is for you, you sad little low-life's.


Because of ever changing technologies, new gadgets coming out, new devices being made and more marketing pushing these things out than you could throw a stick at, certain words are almost becoming defunct, only to be replaced by a totally different meaning.

Stephen Fry, a comedic legend, an incredibly intelligent, gay man, who spends his life in thought. A legend to anyone British, but I thought his comments were appropriate. He speaks about language being no more than a mere fingerprint, and his slight satirical view of technology as he explains the Internet.

Let's take a few:

  • Blackberry: no longer a small fruit you'll get on a bramble bush, it's now an essential cellphone type device which pushes email to you wherever you are.
  • Notebook: it's preposterous to consider handwriting on a paper notebook, because it's a slimmed down laptop computer.
  • Virus: something you normally went to your doctor about because you'd slept with too many people. Now it's a bad piece of software which causes havoc on a computer.
  • Cloud: when was the last time you referred to the cloud as a white, fluffy thing in the sky? It's the Internet, wherever you are, whenever you need it.
  • Java: to me it'll always be strong, powerful and beautifully smelling coffee, but for many it's a computer language which is in everything from Blu-ray devices to the occasional space shuttle.

The old meanings haven't gone away. A cloud can be Internet storage as well as a fluffy sheep-like cloud, and a virus will need a jab in the arm to fix. What worries me is this impressionable generation in front of us, and I'm in there too. Will we forget the original meanings? Will be no longer have need for blackberries because we have our Blackberry's? Will we become more focused on our computers' security than our own health?

Serious questions, but the only way I can have answers if you provide them. Is this generation "too stupid or too not-open-minded" to think back to basic education? Will these just be fads? Is our language slowly deteriorating into "txt spk" and words evolving into things they have only been around for, for the last decade?

This could be an interesting one. TalkBack, ShoutBack, BitchBack,anything you want, I'd be glad to hear it.

Editorial standards