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Facebook, Twitter change language landscape, make young girls seem more aggressive, expert says

Freya PetersenGlobalPost.com

Facebook and Twitter are making teenage girls come across as more aggressive, according to a language campaigner cited in the British media.

Language employed by social media users is becoming shorter, sharper and more "to the point," Marie Clair, from Britain's Plain English Campaign, told the Daily Mail

As a result, the many teenage users of such media have less time to deliberate carefully over their words, and can come across as curt, straightforward and even aggressive when speaking to one another and adults.

The change is more noticeable in girls than boys because they communicate more frequently, Clair said.

"Young people’s language in general is becoming more direct in comparison to their parents and the business community because of the communication channels they’re more familiar with.

"Those fast communication channels of Facebook, email and Twitter [that] they’ve grown up with mean they haven’t got as much time to deliberate and choose their words.

"That’s perhaps why they come across as being more aggressive. It’s not intentional. Curtness tends to be short, sharp and to the point. But it’s a fine line between being curt or aggressive and being straightforward."

Earlier this year, author Sir Terry Pratchett suggested the use of Twitter and texting had led to increasing frustration among youths, the Daily Telegraph reported

"Kids now seem unmotivated. Social media is not helping and texting certainly isn't. You have to have interaction with other people," Pratchett reportedly said.

"If you have the words to identify exactly what you mean, you can get your message across. I'm sure this is linked to rough behavior."

And actor Ralph Fiennes famously lamented that modern language was "being eroded" in "a world of truncated sentences, sound bites and Twitter."

"Our expressiveness and our ease with some words is being diluted so that the sentence with more than one clause is a problem for us, and the word of more than two syllables is a problem for us," Fiennes — who does not use Twitter — said, according to the Daily Mail reported

However, not everybody agreed that jargon commonly used in social media was harming the English language.

The Utah Statesman — the Utah State University paper — pointed out in a recent editorial that the English language had been "transforming constantly." 

"We’ve created a new language through social media... We believe that many elderly people would agree the English language was ruined with the invention of rap music. It’s all relative, really. A problem does exist when a social media user fails to capitalize sentences in employment cover letters due to poor tweeting habits. People can’t be that daft, can they? We prefer to think optimistically about our generation."