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How Has Technology Affected The Way We Communicate With Each Other?

1782 words - 7 pages

It is obvious that technology has had an effect on communications in the most straight forward sense that, for example, we now use the telephone which we didn’t use before it was invented. But has the telephone, or more specifically the rising use of the internet and cell phones changed the style of our communications or its content, and if so, why?It doesn’t take much reflection to come up with a few examples like the telegraph or typewriters becoming obsolete, or the fact that letter writing has pretty much seemed to die out. In a random survey conducted for this paper, I found that the participants sent an average of 4.2 letters in the mail over the last year compared to an average of 1993 e-mails in the same time frame. Why? The most common answer I got was efficiency. It’s faster to send an e-mail than a letter. I also found that the participants were three times more likely to call a friend or family member who lived within .5 miles of them than walk over and talk to them in person. Again the most common reason was speed, why waste the 5 minutes to walk there when you can just call them?The effect of technology on the language we use is evident in the rising use of Instant Messaging and Text messaging in the last decade or so. From LOL (Laugh Out Loud) to BRB (Be Right Back), The internet has spawned a language all it’s own, referred to as “Web Speak” “IM Speak” or “Chat Speak” this language is loosely defined as the series of acronyms, shorthand, and homophones that make up the language used by Instant Message, Text Message, and Chat Room users. Does this entirely different language affect the user outside of its online or cell phone usage? It does according to Kirby McBride an English major in Tennessee who claimed inhis article IM Destroying the English Language “Using English in a shorter version of the language shows that they (the Web Speak users) believe they are in a world where things need to be done very quickly and they sometimes don’t differentiate between communicating in lingo with their friends, and more serious communications such as papers for school, or e-mails to teachers.” Professor Gardener from Salt Lake Community College in Utah disagrees and claims that from his observation “Student writers in 2007 display the same problems as their cohorts in 1990 in dealing with big issues like run-on sentences, fragments, or problematic word usage. No better no worse on average”. Susan Sotillo, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Mont Claire State University in New Jersey thinks that “Using phrases like LOL or OMG instead of actually saying the words is making people lazy, it’s gotten to the point where they don’t even notice when they use it in their everyday lives”. I’m inclined to agree with Mr. McBride, the use of this language is not detrimental to the English language as we know it, it’s just a new dialect for a new generation, but also, the users need to understand that there is a time and a place for it. It’s not...

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