Is Technology Enriching Language?

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The evolution of language is the evolution of the human race and our relationship to knowledge.

The oral tradition begat the printing press and the bounded book, which begat our touchscreen civilization, which begat much hand-wringing about the fate of language. It's easy to bemoan the informality and spontaneity of ubiquitous, democratized communication in all its forms—especially if you're willing to dismiss the democratization. But the ability to communicate across cultures and distance has never been greater, and technology increasingly provides translation across media, languages, and cultures in real time.

Join Future Tense for a conversation on how new and emerging technologies are changing the way we speak, write, and communicate. Will language be richer or poorer for it?


Melissa Broder @melissabroder
Poet and Author, Last Sext

John McWhorter @JohnHMcWhorter
Linguist and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Ben Zimmer @bgzimmer
Language Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

Katy Waldman @xwaldie
Words Correspondent, Slate

Follow the conversation online using #TechLanguage and by following @NewAmericaNYC. Live streaming of this event will be available at the top of this page.


Future Tense is a partnership between New America, Arizona State University, and Slate.