Social media influences on communications in English.

Authors Avatar by ellyharvey98gmailcom (student)

In today's technology driven society people have far better access to instant communication via mobile phones and the internet. 'Text speak' has evolved into its own language, becoming increasingly popular among younger generations, to the extent that some people worry it may be damaging their literacy skills. However, others believe that it is allowing young people to contribute to the evolution of the English language.

Throughout the centuries, English language has subtly changed and it could be argued that the introduction of mobile phones and texting has caused dramatic shifts to the language. For example, until quite recently, text messages were relatively expensive to send, and so users were forced to develop brevity techniques to reduce the number of characters included in each text message thus ensuring they were paying as little as possible for each message sent. This is shown in source one; the first message has every word shortened except 'hi' and 'doing.' Speaker one used phonetic spelling when they wrote 'wot' instead of 'what', and also used two rebuses when writing  'R U' instead of 'are you.' The use of the spelling '2Nite' implies a level of informality suggesting that the messages are between two friends.  There is also an assumption that the recipient will easily be able to decode the message. Not only do these techniques significantly reduce the number of characters per text, but reflect a very informal use of language which is almost exactly how the conversation would be spoken. Despite the brevity of the message and the abbreviations it uses, the conversation is short, direct, light-hearted and casual - exactly how it would be if the speakers were face-to-face.

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Brevity techniques differ slightly between users and a variety of factors determine this.  For example it is clear that different age groups and genders text differently; the purpose of the message, the relationship between two senders, and each person's individual idiolect also alters the language used.

Source two is an example of a relatively formal message, in text message terms, and could be between two adult family members. Besides not every message being written in full sentences, the rest of the language used is extremely close to standard English with no abbreviations or slang used. When compared to source one, ...

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