zaterdag 13 februari 2016

Test your Dutch knowledge - are social media good for language?

Are you better than the average Dutch student? Test your knowledge on this test for experts, organised by Knack. Find out why it's important below.

Languages have through the centuries been a source of power: the ones that master the elite's language, will have easy access to the elite, and hence a great deal of power. So the better one speaks a language, the higher the position in society.

Social media - good for languages? copyright 
An easy example is Arabic: the written language is especially challenging to learn. This advantage was used during the conquest by the Ottoman empire of large parts of Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Still today, a good mastery of the language is an advantage to get access to top-level jobs. 

Closer to Europe, Latin was used by priests to keep their privileged access to God. Only priests could read the Bible, which was exclusively written in Latin, so the Christians would be obliged to go to Church every Sunday to be a good Christian. That's one of the reasons why priests kept their power over whole towns. In fact, it was also one of the reasons why Protestantism was founded. Nowadays, only in the Vatican Latin is still spoken.

Still today, writing language mistakes in application letters is a bad sign. That is why the deterioration of writing skills in Dutch might become a problem. Even children and teenagers use their own language to form their own 'exclusivity ring' with their friends, the only ones who know what YOLO, OMG, ROFL and other mean. Moreover, with WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media, youngsters are encouraged to write as short as possible...

Oh, and OMG is Oh my God, ROFL is roll over the floor laughing and YOLO is you live only once, which is the same as carpe diem ("seize the day" in Latin), written 2000 years earlier.

Here's a list on 60 of these short words. Have fun translating the internet's chatrooms!