Language and words are the most important intangible things we have as humans. Having the ability to communicate abstract ideas with others by making sounds with our mouths is what sets us apart from other Earth-walking animals, and is quite incredible when you think about it. However, when the times change, language changes right with it. We are now in what is called the “Age of Technology” and the major increase in use of the internet, mobile devices and TV has created a whole new set of words that are being looked at as detrimental to traditional language. I do not think the language of new media is corrupting communication but helping, and the idea that it is helping comes from a bias towards younger people.
People are generally afraid of change. So it’s understandable why someone who grew up talking a certain way, would be quick to be against the way a new generation was talking. Older people feel as if the words that new media have introduced to our culture are “slang” and are making us dumb because it’s taking over the traditional way of speaking and writing English. If everyone had this mindset, we would still be speaking like Shakespeare. In the video “Tweets, Texts & Myths” by Professor David Crystal, he disproves the common myths of modern vernacular. Crystal talks about how this “new” language is not really used as much as believed, and that they do not hurt people’s ability to write and communicate in a formal setting. Through a classroom study, Crystal found that those students who used the language of new media the most actually received higher marks on written assignments. So perhaps new language is not hurting, but in fact helping.
A big part of the movement against the new language that mass media and technology have created is a bias towards younger people, who are the ones that use it the most. People fail to realize that just because someone is young, does not mean what they are doing is wrong. Every group of people has their differences in how they say things, from rocket scientists to a sports team, yet because the young people are doing it, it’s labeled as “dumb and detrimental”. In the yellow packet we received in class, it reads “while ‘spaced out’, ‘hang’, or ‘lol’ are widespread and easily understood…this ‘teen argot’ is viewed as slang while the arguably even less-penetrable “’szujet’, ‘diegesis’, and ‘metalepsis’, are recognized as technically appropriate terms for professional literary theorists. (I think it’s ironic how when typing this, the “sophisticated” words all were not recognized by the computer).
Language is very versatile and should be. At it’s core, language is nothing but a way to communicate, so why does it matter how it’s done as long as it’s done? If you’re saying the same exact thing, why should it matter if you abbreviate a few words or add a word that’s not in the dictionary as long as your audience understands? I think that we have to drop our biases when it comes to something like language and allow for everybody to do what works the best for them, because they are the only one that it effects.
Courtney from Study Moose
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