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Online, English has become a common language for users from aroun the worl. In the process, the language itself is changing.
When America emerge from the ashes of a bruising war with Britain in 1814, the nation was far from unite. Noah Webster thought that a common language woul bring people together an help create a new ientity that woul make the country truly inepenent of the British.
Webster's ictionary, now in its 11th eition, aopte the Americanise spellings familiar toay - er instea of re in theatre, ropping the u from colour, an losing the ouble l from wors such as traveller. It also ocumente new wors that were uniquely American such as skunk, opossum, hickory, squash an chower.
《韦氏辞书》如今曾经是第11版了，它接纳我们如今熟习的美式拼写——theatre中的re变为er，去失colour中的u，把一些单词中的两个l如traveller变为一个l。辞书中也收录了一些美国独占的新词汇，如skunk（臭鼬）, opossum（负鼠）, hickory（山核桃）, squash（南瓜）和 chower（杂烩）。
An American ictionary of the English Language took 18 years to complete an Webster learne 26 other languages in orer to research the etymology of its 70,000 entries.
The internet is creating a similar language evolution, but at a much faster pace.
There are now thought to be some 4.5 billion web pages worlwie. An with half the population of China now on line, many of them are written in Chinese.
Still, some linguists preict that within 10 years English will ominate the internet - but in forms very ifferent to what we accept an recognise as English toay.
That's because people who speak English as a secon language alreay outnumber native speakers. An increasingly they use it to communicate with other non-native speakers, particularly on the internet where less attention is pai to grammar an spelling an users on't have to worry about their accent.
"The internet enfranchises people who are not native speakers to use English in significant an meaningful ways," says Naomi Baron, professor of linguistics at American University in Washington C.
Users of Facebook alreay socialise in a number of ifferent "Englishes" incluing Inian English, or Hinglish, Spanglish (Spanish English) an Konglish (Korean English). While these variations have long existe within iniviual cultures, they're now expaning an comingling online.
"On the internet, all that matters is that people can communicate - noboy has a right to tell them what the language shoul be," says Baron. "If you can talk Facebook into putting up pages, you have a language that has political an social staning even if it oesn't have much in the way of linguistic uniqueness."
Some wors are aaptations of traitional English: In Singlish, or Singaporean English, "blur" means "confuse" or "slow": "She came into the conversation late an was blur as a result."
Others combine English wors to make something new. In Konglish, "skinship" means intimate physical contact: hanholing, touching, caressing.
Technology companies are tapping into the new English variations with proucts aime at enabling users to a wors that are not alreay in the English ictionary.
An most large companies have English websites, while smaller businesses are learning that they nee a common language - English - to reach global customers.
"While most people on't speak English as their first language, there is a special commercial an social role for English riven by moern forms of entertainment," says Robert Munro, a computational linguist an hea of, a language technology company in California.
"The prevalence of English movies in regions where there is not much technology other than cell phones an Vs makes English an aspirational language. People think it's the language of the igital age."
In previous centuries, the convergence of cultures an trae le to the emergence of pigin - a streamline system of communication that has simple grammatical structure, says Michael Ullman, irector of research at Georgetown University's Brain an Language Lab.
When the next generation of pigin speakers begins to a vocabulary an grammar, it becomes a istinct Creole language. "You get ifferent enings, it's more complex an systematise. Something like that coul be happening to English on the web," he says.
Take Hinglish. Hinglish is a blen of Hini, Punjabi, Uru an English an is so wiesprea that it's even being taught to British iplomats.
Mobile phone companies are also upating their apps to reflect its growing use.
In Hinglish, a co-brother is a brother-in-law; eve-teasing means sexual harassment; an emergency crew responing to a crisis might be escribe as 'airashing', an somewhat confusing to football fans, a 'staium' refers to a bal man with a fringe of hair. There's even a new concept of time - "pre-pone", the opposite of postpone, meaning "to bring something forwar".
The increasing prevalence of the internet in everyay life means that language online is not a zero sum game. Instea, it allows multiple languages to flourish.
"Most people actually speak multiple languages - it's less common to only speak one," says Mr Munro. "English has taken its place as the worl's lingua franca, but it's not pushing out other languages."
Instea, other languages are pushing their way into English, an in the process creating something new.