There has been a notable shift from dominance of writing to a new dominance of using image as a tool or medium in literacy. Nowadays, films seem to be used for introduction and development of academic writing skills. We can witness the move from dominance of the book to dominance of the screen as a medium. Reading a story book seems different from watching a movie on the screen. During adaptations of books to the screen, the changes made are evident. This change can cause a significant difference in the flow of the story.
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These two factors affect literacy and means of communication in the current generation. Some may argue that language-as-speech will be the greatest mode of communication through generations, but we need to value writing too. If we do not understand the importance of writing, language-as-writing might be displaced by image in many domains. Many languages lack a written form. From childhood, speech comes before writing skills. We need to value writing to avoid losing it as a mode of communication.
There is a difference between reading from a book and reading from a screen. The paper is superior and will never be replaced by the screen. There are reading scenarios that cannot be supported by electronic media. For example, it is not the same reading a newspaper on the bed and reading it online. The moving from page to page, chapter to chapter, has an orderly progression through the unfolding information. The difference in representational and communicational functions between writing and images is clear.
We still have more writing now, but it is not the current generation that does the writing. Mostly it is the older generation that is contributing to new writing. During screen usage, the writing appears subject to the logic of that image. On screen, the image appears in a number of ways. It could appear either as tiny or large unlike when represented in a book. To prevent disappearing of forms of writing from disappearing, we need a deep reflection on writing as a tool and the forms of imagination it fosters.
We find a vast change in the language used nowadays which is different from the formal language used previously. Young people use slang to fill a void in the English language. People who share situations or interests use slang as a mode of communicating. It helps them to belong to the society and adapt to the changing cultures of the people. Considering that the world has changed, there is a need to change the old-fashioned way of communicating. Some years back, some words continued to be the mostly used, but now they got wiped away by use of slang.
Some slang words seem portrayed as having elegance and sophistication unlike the use of the common English words. For example, yeah right or duh appear to be used informally as slang words. These words seem to be mostly used by young people though other age groups use them to identify with their peers. The words may not be considered standard in the speaker’s language due to their informality. Slang is different from jargon in the sense that jargon can be used to exclude some members of a group from a conversation.
Using slang in a statement may mean an understatement or an overstatement unlike the formal language where yes means yes. It may be used to make a sarcastic remark or show the stupidity of the person who triggered the respondent to use the slang word. Some words can be assertive and edgy, and sometimes the statement may seem like an insult altogether. Laid back slang statements may be used to decline a request from a friend in a polite way. Also, slang can be used to refer to social taboos such as violence, crimes and drugs (Gunther, 2003).
When too much slang appears in a statement, the meaning may be incomprehensible to a listener of a different age or social group. This is unlike the formal language where everyone can understand the language used. The informal expressions or words should be used sparingly, and one should take into account the people he/ she is responding to before uttering those words. Even in a given country, different informal words or expressions may be used across various ethnic, social, economic and geographical subgroups.
Both slang and formal language appear to be used as a means of passing a message across. They are both effective modes of communication when used well and in the right context. Mostly the young generation uses the informal expression, and this should be respected since even the older generation at one point used slang. The most valuable thing is passing the message across in a good way. Slang is a way of mastering and negotiating life.
In whichever case, there should be a strong emphasis on literacy. A nation with literate citizens has higher chances of growing and developing than a country with illiterate people. Illiterate citizens cannot make informed choices on weighty matters like voting. This is because they cannot derive information from printed media. They vote for a face or style, not for the character of a leader. Measures should be taken to educate the citizens. This ensures that the level of literacy goes up.
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