Social Media Has Changed Our Language

Social media has changed our language. Since language is dynamic, include real examples in ELA classrooms.

Language fascinates me. It confuses some people; read, walk, and talk can all be nouns and verbs? Bits confuse me too, normally right after I feel that I have a strong understanding of the English language. I’ve found that once you admit to the confusion, fascination has room.

Language always changes. Scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, anyone can notice this change. That’s not a negative, and it’s worth noting with our students. They use social media, and the discussion can fit into an ELA class. Students may know many more than I’ve gathered – or completely different ones.

Here are new words or definitions for words that I would argue came about because of social media.

  1. “Verses” as a verb. As in, our soccer team is verses Washington tonight. 
  2. “Couponing.” (My spell check highlighted this). The rise of reality television coupon and money saving shows gave us “couponing.” Couponing is a sport for certain people at the grocery store.
  3. “Adulting.” Students may not use this word often, but their parents might. (And again – spell check highlighted this). I adulted hard this weekend; I cleaned the house and went grocery shopping. 
  4. “Hashtagging.” Formerly known as the pound sign, the hashtag provides categories of messages. Are you hashtagging the awards show tonight? The hashtag often leads to… tags…
  5. “Tagging.” Not your clothing, but rather your friends. Will you tag me in your status?
  6. “Fail.” Normally present in, #epicfail. “Fail” was once a grade or effort, but now it has replaced “not doing well.” I am failing at life today.

People stress about the change in words; remember when “phat” was included in the dictionary? Outrage! Languages change because they are adapting to the speakers’ needs. With social media, we English speakers had new needs.

Our language has always evolved and changed with new technology. Let’s acknowledge it. At this time, social media has changed our language. And that’s ok!

It seems to be the perfect opportunity to connect to students with a familiar topic, and the perfect teaching opportunity. How? Well, I begin by acknowledging my age and lack of coolness. (That is no longer a phrase, and students immediately know where I’m headed). We then discuss language examples from their social media experiences, which is the purpose of this, anyway.

What examples did I not include? What examples did your students give you?

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