7. Perspectives on present-day English
The emphasis of this book has been on the more distant parts of the history of the English language, with the traditional periods of Old, Middle, Early Modern and Late Modern English. It does not attempt to cover all the recent developments of the (later) twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium. Nevertheless, and still in accordance with the broad, long-term orientation of the book, the last chapter will include a short account of some perspectives on present-day English and its possible future developments.
Among the many (sometimes highly speculative) lines of thought forecasting the future of English I will select two aspects which link back to language-external developments of the Early and Late Modern periods. These are, firstly, the information revolution based on the new media and computer technology, which can be seen as a further stage in the innovations initiated by the printing press in the late fifteenth century, and, secondly, the position of English as a world language, which (among other factors) is a result of the colonial expansion which began in the Early Modern era.
The advent of telephone, radio and television during the twentieth century has certainly left a mark on language use in most modern languages. Some researchers talk about a new, secondary orality (Ong 1982: 11), characterised by (partly new) oral forms of communication, which, however, depend to a large extent on writing and print. But the (so far) most pervasive influence on language use...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.