Birth of a Dialect


The recent, and as of yet still unexplained, cancellation of internet to my apartment has left me, Danielle and Fabio all connecting wirelessly to the router of a friend living above me. Since the connection in my apartment is strongest, our living situation has taken on a dorm-like feeling as we all huddle around the hot spot with our electronics trying to check our email and be productive; or, as is the case with Danielle and myself, be helplessly distracted by Facebook.

“Do you know her?” Danielle asked me, having just received yet another friend request from an unknown Turk.

“Nah, I don’t. Maybe she’s one of your students?”

Spending some quick time browsing through the girl’s photos, we quickly discovered three things: 1) she is indeed one of Danielle’s students, an extremely quiet one, 2) she loves hip-hop, 3) she and her friends comment on all her photos in an English that is more than a stone throw away from the norm, yet is completely understood amongst each other.

And bam!: we just stumbled upon the birth of a dialect of English. As used in linguistics, a ‘dialect’ is:

[quote style=”3″]a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially[/quote]
Her grammar used is certainly based in English, but is closer to internet English than to the ‘standard.’ Likewise, her vocabulary is influenced by Turkish and Kurdish and, although being online, her ‘dialect’ is bound to the geographical area of her friends in Turkey. So, definition wise, her English certainly fits the bill. Of course, you could argue that any time someone learns a new language they are kind of creating a dialect, since language is so intensely personal and no two people use it alike. What makes this so interesting though is the presence of multiple native Turkish speakers instead choosing to speak in their own type of English… As well as the fact that it is all preserved on Facebook.

Say what you like about social media, but it certainly offers entire new ways to look upon linguistic development…
…Assuming you’re creepy enough to wade through strangers’ photos.

Some anonymous examples of the ‘new’ English:

“nyc1&gud eDiTiNg bro..!”

“Ufffffff ye killer look mere bhai ka”

“Person A: hahaha ok calm down and take your pills for waking up in your dreams bro hehe
Person B: Wake up Wake up Wake up fr0m dreams àNd täkè pîl£$ cáréfü££y mý £ø$èr $î$…:-D;-):-P”

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