The internet will kill traditional spellings of English words within a few decades, leading language expert David Crystal of the University of Wales, Bangor.
Professor Crystal predicts, thanks to the advent of blogs and chatrooms, simplified or invented spellings favoured by many internet users could replace the current versions that were standardized in the 18th century, reports The Telegraph.
AdvertisementThis would imply that current internet slang - such as deliberately writing "teh" instead of "the", "2moro" instead of "tomorrow" or "thx" for "thank you" - becomes introduced to mainstream publications because of its wide online usage.
Prof Crystal said: "The vast majority of spelling rules in English are irrelevant in the sense that they don't stop you understanding the word in question.
"If I spell the word rhubarb without an 'h' you have no trouble understanding it whatsoever. Why do we spell it with an 'h'? Because some guy in the 16th century said it was good to put an 'h' in because it would remind you of the history of the word."
However, the expert - who spoke at the 20th anniversary conference of the International English Language Testing System - does not believe the internet would lead to a complete breakdown in spelling rules.
He said: "All that will happen is that one set of conventions will replace another set of conventions."