Language comprises of different elements including phonology, which is a sound component, semantics, which refers to the meaning of language, and lexis, an idiotic meaning that adds vocabulary. It has rules such as punctuation, structure and features. Traditionally language serves as a communication tool but the use of language on social media has new strategies and functions such as enhancing self-esteem (Rainone & Burrow, 2017). Syntax is the structure of sentences while morphology is the study of this structure. When formulating words for written and spoken language, it is necessary to look at these elements. Specific features of a language are subject, verb, noun and punctuation elements. There are simple, compound and complex sentences (Crystal, 2012). Failure to follow these language elements makes language meaningless. Although there are a number of English versions across the globe, the emergence of a digital language brings in new meaning. Social media is a good platform for studying the new language elements and dimensions. In this study, I will analyze these new elements, their validity, effect on standard grammar and future expectations. Using Facebook, twitter and Instagram, I decided to breakdown the use of signs, images and words as language.
The aim of this study is to explore how English features as an international language globally. Over the years, there have been considerable changes in the use of English in the international scene. The planned study looks at the online platform as an avenue for interaction and English is the main language.
The study seeks the following objectives:
- To understand the official and non-official use of language on social media
- To explain the emergence of new language for the global user
- To identify new functions of language in the digital communication
I decided to generalize the study to focus on men and women using language to express themselves. I looked at the role of language through types of texts used on social media and their use in everyday life. I perused through social media links with a focus on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I was able to locate new words, signs and phrases that may not be available in the Standard English version. As a result, I was able to analyze the findings with conclusive remarks.
Research points out that there are more than 2 billion English language-speaking people in the world (Hu, et al., 2012). These are native speaking (those who use English as a mother tongue, e. g from UK, US and Australia) and nonnatives (those with other languages e.g. China, India and Russia). English as the most popular global language is the most common language used on the internet. This makes it the official language for e-commerce, social interaction, news delivery and marketing among others. Sharing information on social media involves the multimedia approach with videos, websites, chats, images and texts. Mobile communication also supports text communication on SMS and WhatsApp applications. Discourse on social media has a different approach (Zappavigna, 2012).
Social media settings support unique language attributes for communication. The use of emoji or Japanese symbols support English communication. The purpose of this is to ease communication and cater for a multicultural group. Native and non-native words, phrases and tags are popular because of the international interaction. Such signs stress the tone by placing an emphasis on language communication for almost real conversations. However, there are different reactions to the social media language. The older generation might not approve nor have a clue on some of the signs and emoji’s, but the millennials are eclectic. The social media language is creative and explores different games and activities. Internet devices such as smartphones and tablets have countless features representing language modes. Lifestyle research points out that Facebook experiences more than 60 million emoji usages every day and these are 2,666 in number (Tan, 2017). The popularity of then symbols explains the emergence of the World Emoji Day, which recognizes this new global language. There are annual updates of new emoji’s for the wide global user. The ABC news also supports the use of emoji in childhood friendly locations and platforms including Instagram and Snapchat. (Fane, 2017) . These keep evolving to incorporate pictorial symbols as shared knowledge for digital communication.
Although social media is positive, it has challenges. Critics point out that it is destroying the English language because it encourages broken English and colloquialism (Debate, 2018). Improper grammar, sentence formulations, poor punctuation, and structures contribute to the disintegration of language. Language evolves across generation but changes from social media represent a delinking from medieval English. Social media sites like Twitter have limited space for delivery of information. This explains the use of friendly applications and characters used in the applications. Some researchers point out that technology, blogs, social media and websites have poor writing skills (Poole, 2013). This poor quality is evident in the sounds, grammar and spellings. An example is words such as “Lol” for ‘laughing out loud’ and “OMG” for Oh My God... Symbols such as # and @ are useful in shortening information but are often misused. The popularity of this shortened language on social media is problematic for learners.
Common in advertising on social media features a customer centric language that captivates and connects with the customer (Page, 2014). Display adverts provide vivid description of products, services and ideas in an innovative way. Adverting companies and brands take advantage of the social media language to direct consumers to their links, make new customers, gain customer approval and disapproval for research (Elliott, 2013). In digital communication, AdWords and Search engine words are popular. These are strategic for the implementation of a campaign. As a result, social media strategist capitalize on language for effectiveness. In this case, content enriched with key words is appropriate. Thus, the language function becomes helpful to the marketers. The figure below shows an example of a campaign with conversational language in proper English words.
Customized language for different sites
Popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter thrive on conversations. However, there are concerns about the degradation of the native English language because of the digital approaches.
On Twitter, the storytelling approach is enticing and creates a content that is worth sharing. Credibility is a challenge on social media because of fake news, Photoshop, plagiarism, and hacking. However, social media communication involves non-interactive language presented as posts. Language settings support an adjustment for translations and different fonts, characters and applications (Owoputi, et al., 2013). The figure below shows this example from Instagram.
Sign Language on Social Media
Hu, et al (2012) supports the fact that English as a global language has principles for different applications including social media. An example of the popular FB sign is shown below.
Individuals use social media for connecting with friends and families. The use of language is also a PR strategy to gain popularity or ‘likes’. This is a business and self esteem tool and discussions in the specified contexts. The digital platform features a variety of elements including ethnographics. The systematic language calls for digital literacy and discussions on how to explore communication . Social media interaction has pros and cons (Debate, 2018). In language it provides a vocabulary that shapes the technology language. Social media communication supports the development of language with reference to emerging technologies such as online media. This is important for business and social interaction. Effective communication is important because it supports the delivery of information and growth of the technology industry.
Although Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are social media link, they are different in style and application. From the findings, social media is popular in all areas of life including the classroom, home and social use. The mainstream media and office settings also recognize the importance of social media. The popularity of social media explains its integration on mobile devices and traditional media. Research indicates that there are emerging communication tactics on social media and English is the most popular language (Egros, 2017). Although common language like English is used, a new digital lingo defines new language concepts. As a result, there is need to balance social media with traditional language.
An analysis of the social media feedback reveals that social media is essential in business. It is also notable that age is an influencing factor in the usage of social media links and language. It is also evident that social media English is a combination of Standard English, non-English and digital language. From the above image, it is evident that popular languages of the globe like Spanish and French are also popular online languages. Signs and symbols are part of the digital media and facilitate for user-friendly use of media. These come from different language types. Therefore, social media language involves texts, images and symbols. Some sites like Instagram are popular for images and language is useful for photographed images of quotes or words. People use online platforms for office and out of office communication. This research noted that it is important to differentiate between official and non-official language online. However, this is a challenge because serious business websites have social media links, which may not be strictly official.
The figure below shows some of the risks of social media. Among this is misinterpretation, restricted speech, and exclusion. Social media language is plus but it is an emerging research topic that needs further inquiry. From the study, there are gaps between Standard English and digital communication. Research into the topic needs to focus on the benefits and challenges.
From the inquiry, it is clear that language is essential in basic communication. However, there are different types of languages. This includes the spoken, verbal, written, signs, symbolic and the unspoken among others. The emergence of social media platforms is parallel to the development of a new language for online communication. The global digital communication system includes terms and reference with words that may not be available in the standard languages. Among this is the technology language and colloquial terms. The study supports the use of English as the main language of the world and it mentions its inclusiveness. From the findings, the online language is user friendly but it also favors certain ages. This analysis brings out the pros and cons of social media languages. Its focus is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as popular social media sites. From the examples given, social media language involves both professional and informal languages. These have different purposes and functions. For example, advertisers take advantage of the language to captivate consumers. Therefore, social media language is a conglomerate of native and nonnative languages and may differ from one region to another. The global internet user finds sites that are favorable to them for effective communication.
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