How Tech is Changing the Way We Talk

Listen 48:36
Tech language

Technology isn’t just changing our world — it’s changing the words we use to describe it. Language is evolving at breakneck speed, thanks to the internet and social media, which allow people from around the world to connect, and spread new words and ideas. But technology and language influence each other in ways beyond the internet. On this episode of the Pulse, we explore how technology and language shape each other. We hear stories about the invention of talking computers, the quest for nuance in online communications, and an unexpected culprit changing the way Scottish teens talk.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Host Maiken Scott makes a copy of her own voice using a program called Overdub, and then talks voice synthesis with one of the program’s makers, developer Kundan Kumar.
  • Reporter Todd Bookman investigates the origins of how we made machines and eventually computers talk like humans.
  • Language is changing faster and faster thanks to the internet. We talk with linguist Gretchen McCulloch about how those changes are happening, and how she keeps up. Gretchen is the author of “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language.”
  • A few years ago, British sociolinguist Jane Stuart-Smith noticed something strange — teens in Glasgow, Scotland using a Cockney pronunciation. Her research uncovered an unlikely culprit: an English soap opera called EastEnders. Jad Sleiman reports.

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