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The Internet's (New) Usage Problems

A further contribution from the Leiden University Bridging the Unbridgeable project

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2016


In the previous issue of English Today, Lukač (2016) discusses the increasingly important role of online language authorities for users of the internet who are looking for usage advice. However, prescriptivism also reaches these users when they are not actively looking for it. They encounter advice in newsfeeds in different social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and some of them join online groups to discuss usage problems. The standard language ideology seems to have established itself firmly on these new platforms, adapting itself in the process. Articles on usage shared on social media are almost without exception in the form of lists with eye-catching ‘clickbaity’ titles (e.g. ‘7 Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb’), and their most important topics differ strongly from those of traditional prescriptivism.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Lukač, M. 2016. ‘Grammar advice in the age of Web 2.0: Introducing the new (and keeping the old) language authorities.’ English Today, 32(2), 34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weiner, E. 1988. ‘On editing a usage guide.’ In Stanley, E.G. and Hoad, T.F. (eds.), Words. For Robert Burchfield's Sixty-Fifth Birthday. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, pp. 171183.Google Scholar