Punctuated Equilibrium

Joe Pinsker, writing for the Atlantic about the fate of the apostrophe in the 21st century, points out how computers are actually preserving aspects of language we might otherwise be willing to let atrophy:

Autocorrect, the now-ubiquitous software that’s always reading over our shoulders, tends to put apostrophes in when we omit them—which means they might remain a feature of informal writing for longer than they otherwise would. The software may also prop up other formal conventions, among them capitalization and “silent” letters (like the u, g, and h that drop out as though becomes tho). “Autocorrect is acting like a language preservative,” says Alexander Bergs, a linguistics professor at Germany’s Osnabrück University. “Which is funny, as usually new media like cellphones and computers are blamed for language decay.”