Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Oct 2009 00:37 UTC
Features, Office In the comments on our editorial about language purism and the Psystar case, it became quite clear that language is a subject almost everyone has an opinion on - not odd if you consider that language is at the very centre of what makes us "human". Since this appears to be a popular subject, let's talk about the influence computing has had on two very minor aspects of the Dutch language.
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Keyboards
by Delgarde on Tue 27th Oct 2009 01:24 UTC
Delgarde
Member since:
2008-08-19

It's not specifically computers affecting the language, as keyboards, since I assume the same factors would apply just as much to an old 1930's typewriter as to a modern laptop.

It comes down to practicality - you can only have so many keys on a keyboard, and so you have to simplify. Separate keys for open and close quotes, single and double? Nice, but not strictly necessary - little readability is lost by merging the two symbols. And the same argument elsewhere. Another example for you is a tendency to drop accents from characters, as they're hard to enter on a standard US keyboard...

Interestingly, computers actually improve the matter a little, as they can be a bit smarter about things - automatically turning straight quotes into their curly counterparts, allowing combination keystrokes to enter accented characters, etc.

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