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How Millennials Changed the Rules of Written English—& Why It's Not Such a Bad Thing

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According to the generations that precede them, millennials have killed a number of timeless industries: brick-and-mortar stores, diamonds, napkins, and good ole' fashioned conversation to name a few. Next on the executioner's block? The English language. But before anyone gets too worked up about the end of communication as we know it, be aware that millennials aren't just breaking down the way written English is used—they're building a new system on top of it.

Millennials are forming a new grammatical system, wherein misspellings, capitalizations, and incorrect grammar are used to signal previously undetectable nuances like tone, body language, and sarcasm.


The simplest changes are just meant to save time.

In a world of digital communication, the less keystrokes it takes to convey an idea, the better. Millennials are routinely leaving the apostrophes out of contractions like "dont," "cant," and "im," while also shortening phrases like "thank you" and "I don't know" to "ty," "idk," "lol," "bc," and so forth. Chances are, even the least tech savvy individual will have encountered some of those famous text abbreviations.

Though these changes arise out of convenience (or laziness, depending on who you're talking to), linguists know the urge to save some time is essentially the basis for how language evolves, so they're taking a particular interest in these "mutations."

One particularly interesting device Millennials use is "atypical capitalization."

The standard rules of English state that capitalization should be "reserved for proper nouns, people, countries, brands, the first person pronoun, and the first word in a new sentence." Millennials are unbound by these rules, however, and use capitalization to express information that wasn't previously provided. According to Dr. Lauren Fonteyn, an English Linguistics lecturer at University of Manchester who spoke with Mashable:

What we see in millennial spelling is different, but not unruly. Capitals are not necessarily used for people (we know who ed sheeran is, it's Ed Sheeran), or initial words of a text or tweet.

Punctuation (or lack of it) plays an important role as well!

The absence of a period at the end of a sentence typically indicates a neutral tone in "millennial speak," while the grammatically correct full stop to conclude a thought can indicate anger. Two periods ("..") are used to ask for elaboration and an ellipses ("...") is basically an awkward pause. And, mimicking real life, punctuation completely disappears when a millennial is excited:

These quirks of English don't only convey tone; they convey community.

A senior lecturer in Welsh Linguistics, Dr Peredur Webb-Davies, says internet speak is not only helpful in conveying paralinguistic information (body language, tone, etc.), but also imparts a sense of identity in the digital world. Dr. Fonteyn agrees, and pointed out the use of the trademark symbol as an example:

When TM is added to a phrase, it ADDS something you can't do in a regular conversation. I don't think this originates in speech, because I don't think anyone actually says "the point TM." This emphatic method might actually originate in digital language: they're not just indicating prosody from spoken language but they are adding a visual joke to it, TM in Hyperscript.

Many of these changes are both funny and practical.

The ability to convey paralinguistic information isn't just an oddity—it's an advantage informal internet English has over its older, stuffier predecessor. Some researchers believe we're watching the beginnings of a newer, more expressive version of our written word.

H/T - Mashable, Forbes

Jinxy Productions via Getty images@PassionPopSoc/Twitter

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The wizarding world is now a reality.

Sort of.

A Canadian company has created a real life invisibility cloak, and it's mind-blowing to see in action.

The company, HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., calls its creation "Quantum Stealth."

See it in action here:

'Invisibility cloak' that could hide tanks and troops looks closer to reality www.youtube.com

Describing themselves on their website as "Leaders in Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception", HyperStealth has patents pending on their magical invention.

The "invisibility shield" is made of an inexpensive, paper thin material that bends light to make objects appear to be invisible. The company boasts that it would be able to hide people, vehicles, and even buildings.

Humans hidden by Quantum Stealth would also be undetectable to heat-sensing cameras.

Meet the Canadian who created a real-life invisibility shield youtu.be

Guy Cramer, the CEO of HyperStealth and the shield's inventor explained to CTV News:

"This is the same material that you see in 3D books and DVD covers and movie posters where by moving side to side you get a 3D image. We're using the same material and we've removed the picture from behind it to get that effect."

The material was never meant to for public use, but Cramer hopes that his invention will be helpful to Canada's military allies, including the United States.

Since releasing video demonstrations of the "invisibility cloak", military personnel have become interested in learning more about it.

Reception to the prototype, initially demonstrated to militaries in 2011, was lukewarm. But HyperStealth's recent promotional materials have since caught the attention of higher ups.

Cramer has expressed surprise about the public's interest in "Quantum Stealth" on Twitter.

Cramer admitted to CTV that he has reservations about how the material can be used:

"The intention was to keep it out of the public and to allow the military to use it sparingly or bury it. My concern is the criminal element using this at some point in the future and non-allied countries using it against our soldiers out there."

Fans of the Harry Potter series are comparing "Quantum Stealth" to Harry's Invisibility Cloak.





Featured in both the book and movies, Harry's Invisibility Cloak is a made from a magical fabric that he and his friends wear to appear invisible, usually to hide from Hogwarts' staff.

Giphy

Twitter is in awe of the invention's unbelievable capabilities.





Though some people share Cramer's worries about it falling into the wrong hands and its use in warfare.





Despite the public's excitement and concerns, Cramer doubts that it will ever be available for civilian use.

When addressing "Quantum Stealth's availability to the general public, he wrote on the HyperStealth website:

"Not in the near future unless the Military decided to release the technology and I don't anticipate that will happen anytime soon."

If you're not up on your Potterdom lore (or just need a new set after reading your first ones to tatters) the Harry Potter Books 1-7 Special Edition Boxed Set is available here.

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