Review: Because Internet

Because Internet spans scholarship and popular culture in all the ways I admire. Gretchen McCulloch doesn’t assume her audience consists of isolated academics or insular nerds. I think dillatentes on both sides will learn and be entertained. I consider myself a part of her target audience, so I found it delightful.

I’m the kind of language nerd who avoids prescriptivism and dire pronouncements about technology damaging our collective communication and cognition. I seems like languages have always fragmented into jargon and argot and adapted to new technologies. Technology changes both how we express our thoughts and the people we communicate with. That’s true of everything from the chariot to the text message. It’s interesting to look at the details of the changes that the Internet has encouraged, but I’m also confident that any shift away from, say, cursive writing that it encourages will not significantly damage us.

McCulloch largly shares my perspective, but can support the position with specific scholarship. Better than that, she can explain the underlying studies and ideas clearly. I’m interested and unprofessional and found the studies non-daunting and enlightening.

Highly recommended.

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