First we had Wikipedia practically wiping Microsoft’s Encarta out of existence. Give it another five years and perhaps that other great knowledgeable tome of our times, the ‘Concise’ Dictionary will suffer a similar fate.
Looking at the number of pages using competing spellings of common words (think ‘closeable’ vs. ‘closable’) can help gauge what is the most current usage in a more accurate way than is possible with a book. Oliver Steele has some interesting comments on this.
Language appears to be changing at a faster rate even in the stuffy halls of corporate communication, given the predominance of emailing, blogging and the rapidly developing social networking communication. As we strip down our language, will we also end up standardizing (should that be standardising) the words we use?