Presence Is the New Dial tone. And Instant Message IS a New Kind of Voice, Linguist John McWhorter Notes

For some time I have been wondering aloud if Instant Messaging isn’t replacing more voice calls than we suspect. Are voice calls being replaced more with IM or video calls? I’d love to see statistics on this, but that discussion aside, a linguistics professor may be noting why IM is such a natural voice replacement: because it IS spoken language.

According to John McWhorter, linguistics professor at Columbia University:

“Texting isn’t written language, It much more closely resembles the kind of language we’ve had for so many more years: spoken language.”

He goes on to coin a new term: “fingered speech”. He also notes that if speech can become like writing (a written speech), can writing become like speech? (texting, and by extension IM).

Those interesting in the development of Unified Communication will really want to read this interesting TED 2013 article.


Q&A with John McWhorter:

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