February 19, 2007

The effect of the internet on language and society

There isn't any wikipedia entry (yet) for "raging kegger", but an explanation of "kegger" is available. The OED was there first

A party or similar event at which beer is served (usually directly from a keg); esp. such an event that is particularly wild, raucous, or large. Occas. with number prefixed, designating the number of kegs provided to denote the (large) size of the party or event, as two-, three-kegger, etc.

but the OED is unfortunately inaccessible to most 13-year-olds. In any case, I'd guess that most English-speaking 13-year-olds can figure out the meaning of the phrase "raging kegger" for themselves, by relying on the meaning of its constituent morphemes and the principles of compositionality. Even so, this cartoon evokes an important aspect of modern adolescence.

For an early expression of concern about the social effects of universal, indexed, networked computing -- written before general-purpose computers or digital networks were invented -- see Murray Leinster's story "A logic named Joe" (originally published in Astounding in March 1946, under Leinster's real name of Will F. Jenkins).

Posted by Mark Liberman at February 19, 2007 07:22 AM