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Five perspectives on the future of language

David Parry/PA

Our brave new digital world’s been causing some strife for language pedants – and if noughties text-speak felt bad, woe betide our new diet of acronyms and aubergine emoji. How has our language, and our relationship with language, evolved to keep pace with cultural changes? Five experts investigate.

On the ubiquity of emoji

Emoji are transforming our communication patterns, and that may not be a bad thing. Linguistics professor Vyvyan Evans makes the case that our new arsenal of glyphs can be even more powerful than words.

On the rise of the “grammar police”

In a world of Twitter spats and forum comment threads, the grammar pedant is never far away. Senior linguistics lecturer Rob Drummond investigates the rise of the online “grammar police”, and why they might be wrong to care.

On tech and language learning

Shouldn’t mobile learning apps have made us all bilingual by now? Experts investigate the efficacy of language learning apps such as Duolingo.

On the emergence of gender-neutral language

The rise of gender fluidity has left linguistic gender binaries feeling a little old-fashioned, and gender-neutral forms are evolving to keep up. From the “Mx” courtesy title, to the use of the non-gender specific “they”, Laurel Stvan, associate professor and chair of linguistics, explains the evolution.

On the future of language in 100 years

Take the long view, and 2016’s language debates feel rather parochial. The future is one of multiple Englishes, explains language and literature professor Simon Horobin.

What language questions would you like to see answered on The Conversation? Tell us in the comments.

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