Teenagers use long words online

Written by Tom Whipple

Taken from "World and Press",

1 October 2017


For those who fear that human civilisation is being undermined one cat video at time, there is a good news. In the past decade there may have been no discernible diminishment in our appetite for cats that look like Hitler, but at least the language used to describe them is becoming    

                                                                           more sophisticated.

A Russian scientist has analysed social media posts from almost a million people and found that the length of words used has gradually increased over time. Contrary to the idea that the internet is dumbing down public discourse, Ivan Smirnow, from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, found the reverse.

He determined that language complexity increases with the age of users and with the education of users, as might be expected. But is also increases over time. So a person aged 16 in 2007 might have been interested in videos of dogs chasing their own tails, but compared with one in 2017 he or she would have been less articulate in explaining why.

"Posts written in 2016 are significantly more complex than the posts written in 2015, the posts written in 2015 are more complex than the posts written in 2014 and so on," Mr. Smirnov, who published his research on the online journal arXiv, said. "My hypothesis is that people use the site differently at different time points. They probably started just by posting some brief status but today share sophisticated stories and opinions."


He began the research because he was tired of people claiming that the world was dumbing down but providing only anecdotal evidence. "As social media are often blamed for the supposed degradation, I decided to look at what is really going on," he said...

How has your language usage changed over the recent time?

What about your children?

Do they use the social media often?


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Write a comment

Comments: 37
  • #1

    Losaway (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:52)

    great post!


  • #2

    Vika (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 21:04)

    Прочитала с удовольствием! Спасибо а информацию!

  • #3

    Amanda Mércuri (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 21:22)


    Interessante seu post!

    Ótima terça!

    Beijo! ^^

  • #4

    Rena (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 22:29)

    Wie sich meine eigene Sprache entwickelt hat, kann ich selber nicht so gut beurteilen, aber ich weiß, dass unsere Kinder Social Media vor allem in Sachen WhatsApp benutzen und dann schreiben sie oft in dem bei uns üblichen Dialekt obwohl sie normalerweise wenig Dialekt sprechen :)
    Liebe Grüße, Rena

  • #5

    Amira (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 23:23)

    Hello, thanks for the information.

  • #6

    Lisa Isabella Russo (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 23:35)

    Very intriguing post. I also would have theorized that with all the abbreviations language usage would be becoming less complex rather than more.

  • #7

    Kelsey&Kenecha (Tuesday, 17 October 2017 23:45)

    Interesting post

  • #8

    Radi (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:04)

    This is great! Always nice to see the real analytics of things.
    Hope you're having a lovely day!


  • #9

    The Yum List (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:20)

    Both funny and interesting!

  • #10

    MONICA SORS (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 12:38)

    Such a great post!!
    Mónica Sors
    NEW POST: <A

  • #11

    yesimlehertelden (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 13:45)

    it has been a beautiful article....I have two kids in school age but no social media accounts..
    Computer and tablet permissions are also just for the weekend... ;)

  • #12

    carmy (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 15:05)

    nice post :)

  • #13

    Gabriela (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 16:49)

    amazing post, i love your blog <3
    http://wooho11.blogspot.com - i invite <3

  • #14

    Eleine (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 19:16)

    Interesting post


  • #15

    Carolina G. ticala (Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:16)

    Very interesting post! ❤️❤️❤️

  • #16

    Наталья Белогловская (Thursday, 19 October 2017 13:17)

    Great post!

  • #17

    Blackswan (Thursday, 19 October 2017 14:18)

    Thanks for sharing this interesting post, dear! xoxo

  • #18

    ilijacfashion (Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:35)

    Great post, I like it :)

    new post

  • #19

    Lindsey (Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:40)

    Oooh this is very interesting! I had not heard of this study. I had always heard that social media, etc. will be the death of decent grammar/word usage. This is good news! :)

  • #20

    Ashley (Thursday, 19 October 2017 18:32)

    This was interesting, babe!


  • #21

    Florentina (Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:21)

    Well, this very incouraging, it is good to hear that youg people this day read and write more.
    Wish you a fantastic evening.
    Flo from

  • #22

    Mia (Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:22)

    A really interesting post, Shon. I did not know about this research. Kisses, my friend.

  • #23

    the lunch girls (Friday, 20 October 2017 16:38)

    Great post! :D

    <a href="www.thelunchgirls.it">The Lunch Girls</a>

  • #24

    Isabella (Friday, 20 October 2017 17:21)

    Hallo meine Liebe,

    mal wieder ein überaus interessanter Artikel- ich denke Social Media hat auch in der Sprache so einiges verändert:)

    Hab ein schönes Wochenende;)

  • #25

    SOL da Esteva (Friday, 20 October 2017 17:53)

    Concordo com a tese de Mr. Smirnov. Na verdade há que descrever o que se diz ou escreve, como se houvesse necessidade e certificação de que a mensagem chega "inteira" ao(s) interlocutor(es).

    I agree with the thesis of Mr. Smirnov. In fact it is necessary to describe what one says or writes, as if there were need and making sure that the message reaches 'full' when (s) speaker (s).


  • #26

    Cris (Saturday, 21 October 2017 01:32)

    Great post. As a linguist, it is definitely a worry. However, we are becoming less articulate and more visual. Everything is about fast, no reading and more clicking. Emojis are also a big change on how we communicate. Thanks for sharing. Loved it. Have a lovely weekend. xoxo Cris

  • #27

    Isy (Saturday, 21 October 2017 11:57)

    Great post!

    <a href="http://ontemesomemoria.blogspot.pt/">Ontem é só Memória</a> | <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ontemesomemoria/">Facebook</a> | <a href="https://www.instagram.com/pequenabonecadetrapos/">Instagram</a>

  • #28

    Patryk | Blog o żywieniu zbiorowym (Saturday, 21 October 2017 12:07)

    Thanks for visiting my blog and comment. Great post :) I use Facebook :)

    Regards and have a nice weekend

  • #29

    Joanna (Saturday, 21 October 2017 14:05)

    I think it's really interesting.


  • #30

    kasztanowydomek (Saturday, 21 October 2017 14:45)

    Interesting post!
    Happy weekend! :)


  • #31

    Stephanie@Fairday's Blog (Saturday, 21 October 2017 16:48)

    How interesting! Interesting that our likes stay the same- but we are using better vocabulary to get our ideas across. :)

  • #32

    Rena (Saturday, 21 October 2017 21:11)

    Ich wünsche Dir ein wunderschönes Wochenende! Alles Liebe von Rena

  • #33

    Carolina G. ticala (Saturday, 21 October 2017 22:28)

    Thank for stopping on my blog! ♥️♥️♥️

  • #34

    Rina (Sunday, 22 October 2017 22:42)

    I am definitely not one that has a way with words but I do find that the online thesaurus is very helpful especially when writing a blog post =P

    Rina Samantha

  • #35

    shadownlight (Monday, 23 October 2017 18:06)

    Ach ja die gute alte Sprache. Man schreibt ja viel zu viele Abkürzungen.
    Liebste Grüße!

  • #36

    UI UX Design Training (Thursday, 07 December 2017 13:16)

    Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

  • #37

    suresh lukhi (Thursday, 15 February 2018 12:02)

    hello dear, i really like this post,it's a so useful and important in my life,so keep up and thanks for sharing .... :) :)