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Language has undergone much metamorphism through the ages. The language has been modified as per the changing times and new words added to the vocabulary as and when they have been widely used by the public. There have been many reasons under the various changes made to the language like the globalization. As an example, let’s take the English language. As the world has become more integrated and connected, the English language has undergone a sea change in the way that it is written and spoken around the world. Many local dialects of English have come up across the world and the language is spoken in much more variety of ways than before. This is true of many other languages, but none more so than of English. Looking at it from a perspective of a language and not just of English, we can see a change is language as a whole over the years. One of the greatest origins of change lies in technology. When the written communication was limited to letters, the way that letters were written involved a lot of lucidity and politeness with not much restrictions of spaces of the number of words to be written. This did not change the language as such.
The onset of telegrams which limited the number of words which we could send across also brought in a change. People began removing adverbs to make the sentences shorter, though not grammatically correct. The next revolution was seen in online mails, which brought in a different sort of formal communication twist to the language. Online mails have stayed more or less formal over the years keeping the text and the mode of communication formal with light informal signatures. This mode of communication did lead to new words and ways to communicate on a negative fashion – words like escalation began being thrown around to communicate unhappiness related to work and unprofessional ism. But, by far the biggest game changer as far as languages are concerned is the introduction of short text messaging services or SMS. Launched as a way to communicate on mobile devices in form of text messages, it revolutionized the way that people communicated. The message usually had a limit for each single message. The current versions of text messaging or texting, like BlackBerry Messaging or Whats app have done away with the limits too which have the messaging services all the more popular. Text messaging has become one of the most important tools to communicate with people. Rather, it has become the monopoly as far as communication mediums are concerned. No other system of communication has caught the fancy of so many and for such a long time such as text or other sort of instant messaging. Messaging, in all it forms, has taken the levels of communication to new highs as well as to new lows as we see in the coming analysis.
Impact of messaging:
Consider a few figures:
· US smartphone owners who use SMS send an average of 111 messages per week (DMR, 2013).
· Smartphone owners aged 18-24 send and receive 4,000 messages per month (DMR, 2013).
· 9.8T SMS messages were sent in 2012, up from 7.8T in 2011 (CMO, 2012).
The above facts give us a brief understanding about the magnitude of text messaging. Text messaging has had multiple types of impact on the language the way people communicate with each other. Some of the impacts are:
Messaging services have given the entire world of communication a brand new twist. The first and foremost change that has been seen in the language is the use of very informal language when communicating with anybody be it parents, friends, work place colleagues or even bosses at work. The language does not see usage of formal construction of sentences. The sentences are mostly short and to the point. The words used in the sentence are very simple and non-flowery language is the base of any messaging text. The key factor when messaging someone is to send across a message, which is not necessarily grammatically correct but should get the intent of the message across (Bodomo, 2002). The messages do not begin with any salutation or any other beginning remarks that you would find in letter writing and other types of formal communication.
Texting in many ways breaks the rules of language use in communication which is usually followed in letters or other forms of written communication. It is not deemed necessary that the person should have a good grasp on the language to text correctly and concisely. It is quite the opposite when it comes to language control. In texting, the informal, shortened use of slangs amongst regular sentences is considered regular and normal culture. Texting does not require every word to be accurately placed in the sentence as long as the idea gets to the other end successfully (Bodomo, 2002).
The language being used has also been expanded due to the use of new word like features called smiley. Smiley is used in texting to show the emotion in the sentence being sent across. It started with simple smiley such as one for a smile (hence the word smiley) “J”. This has now been incorporated in all mediums of communication. Even formal software like MS Word (Being used now) has correctly deciphered the key strokes entered to transform it into the smile. A smiley is necessary in texting and has become popular to convey the proper emotion being displayed by the sender in the sentence. This can be seen as an impact of texting being mostly used by teenagers who need to express their emotions more. Hence, a smiley at the end or beginning or even the start of the sentence is considered normal and a part of the entire message. Smiley’s have evolved from being just a smile to full fledged emoticons. Emoticons are text-words which display the required emotion in the text message. Hence, the name emoticon like lexicon. An emoticon is used to display much more than just emotions like words like playing some sport, or a thumbs up or high five and such other endless stuff. The usage of emoticons and smiley into the format of a message has also been a mini revolution of sorts in messaging (Eldridge & Grinter, 2001). Earlier, in written communication forms, there were no such extensive use of smiley and emotions except what could be described in plain words in the language of the letter. Hence, it was normal occurrence for the receiver of the message to not know or get confused as to what the sender exactly meant to say and the emotion behind it. Emotions have given the people another opportunity to correctly display the emotion being conveyed- with correctly being the key word here. The use of emoticons has also made the already informal approach of texting more informal with the emoticons being sent in almost every reply or message to everybody from parents to teacher and even to strangers.
Ease of communication:
Before the advent of mobile communication like texting, communication was done primarily by writing letters/mails or spoken communication. These forms or communication require much more interpersonal skills than necessary for texting people. If you need to speak to somebody, there needs to be a kind of check on emotions and also the wait to tactually meet that person and then talk to them (Hard, 2002). This has been done away with by texting. Texting provides a way to instantly talk to any person without worrying where they might be or what they are doing. If the person is busy, all they have to do is not reply which is the accepted norm in texting. This provides the much needed chance to instantly connect with people as soon as one feels any need to talk or message something to anybody. This instant communication is very important from various aspects as it provides instant dissemination of ideas, impromptu conversations and much more. Texting has also proven a point in opening up communication lines which were difficult to deal with earlier. A classic example would be the communication that any teen has with a parent (Kasesniemei, 2003). This is one of the most difficult modes of communication and frequently ends up with someone slamming the door shut. This was primarily due to tempers getting flared while discussions with the parents in face to face communication. With texting, the communication in such a case has improved dramatically. We have parents as well as teenagers with mobile devices which has improved the communication. Texting provides a way to chat with the parents frequently without the need to have a real time physical communication or talk. It also makes the communication friendlier and less hostile for the teenagers leading to much more amicable solutions and conversation getting opened much to the delight and ease of both parties involved.