Free «Technological Language Theory» Essay Sample

What does the technological language theory mean and what is its relevance to developing countries seeking ways to hasten the process of modernization?

Over the years technology has become increasingly powerful and available in many aspects of our languages and communication. It has been established that “professional’s in language education and learners have become increasingly comfortable with technology as they have more access to and experience with it” (Zhao, 2005 p. 3). People have come to realize that technology can play a significant role in removing many of the barriers to successful language learning such as lack of qualified teachers and a shortage of high quality learning materials (Zhao, 2005). Zhao (2005) argues that “some of the early works of the field of technology and language education demonstrated that technology can indeed help enhance language learning” (p. 3). Due to the above there is thus a noticeable surge of interest in applying technology to language education Zhao (2005).

Negrotti (1999) says that as far as language is concerned the main technology which has been developed to communicate there is a problem of its efficiency and effectiveness in allowing the transfer of personal knowledge. It has been determined that we think much more than we can externalize through language and hence according to Negrotti (1999) every language acts as a filter always creating some kind of bottleneck in the technological perspective. This also limits our capacity to reproduce our mental exemplars and their subjective essential performances (Negrotti, 1999).

Studies show that “oral or written language can be understood at least in their roots as being an unusual case of a true technology of the artificial rather than as a conventional technology which is intentionally forced to reproduce something as it happens in all the cases of concrete technological theories” (Negrotti 1999 p.108). This implies that with language theory we are dealing with a technology devised just for and only for reproduction aims and not for deliberately generating new technological entities (Negrotti, 1999).

Give a specific example or two to illustrate how the modernization process has been helped through the application of a technological language.

Innovation in the recent years has contributed in a great way to scope at which language has influenced technology. Sproat (2010) says that language is central to who we are and what we are capable of doing. He continues to indicate that no single technological achievement whether the early civilizations. Sproat (2010) noted that “the most advanced endeavors in theoretical physics would have been possible without language” (p. 1). Several technologies have been developed over the millennia to enhance and mimic our linguistic abilities. These languages have been essential in keeping the technology in pace at which globalization has grown.

In his studies Pütz (1995) noted that “technological language is a set of terms and discourse conventions which firstly has a very narrow sphere of applicability in terms of topics and situation” (p. 85). Secondly Pütz (1995) says that this type of language theory has terms which for a long period of time have restricted preferably unambiguous and precise reference. In this context it has been noted that technological language is characterized by deliberate attempts to impose uniformity of usage (Pütz, 1995). Pütz (1995) also established that “it is preferably an international code with standardized terminological strategies and mechanisms using fixed procedures like borrowing from specific languages such as English, Greek and Latin hence in this case it has promoted technical and scientific communication across language communities” (p. 85).

Pütz (1995) says that given the specific socio-political and sociolinguistic set up in most parts of the world the technicalization of the autochthonous languages cannot take place. As a result scholars argue that technological languages should form part of a community development program, should be culturally contextualized and also they should be aware of ideological manipulation (Pütz, 1995). Technological languages are often considered to function from a broader perspective and they exist separately from the larger community. According to Pütz (1995) this is possible because non technical people play part in the dissemination and acceptance of technical terms.

Technological languages cannot be irrelevant to the lives of the general public hence these languages must be integrated with the development of their speakers (Pütz, 1995). He continues to say that the people should not be considered as passive beneficiaries of technical and scientific terms. Pütz (1995) established that “because change in technology is both response to social change and an agent of social change technological languages must lead to the intellectual liberation of people” (p. 87). In this view if the role of technical language is accepted it means that language theory must be directed to meet the needs of the current technological innovations in order to fulfill the needs of the community (Pütz, 1995).

According to Pütz (1995) in the present circumstances the priority level in technological language should not be between scientists and technologists but between technically trained people and lay people. Pütz (1995) also indicated that “schools should be recognized as an important agent in the dissemination of technical language and knowledge skills” (p. 88). Also considering the fact that there might be little sense in focusing technological language some principles in scientific and technical research theory can be relaxed.

What does Al Hester’s research indicated on the problems and patterns of the flow of international news, especially between developing and developed countries? Give your answer within the framework of his hypotheses on the subject.

Wallis & Baran (1990) says that Al Hesters found out that it makes little difference on which of the networks used in the flow of international news. There are national and systematic differences enumerated above not to mention the logistical problems of acquiring tapes and transcripts from different countries (Wallis & Baran, 1990). Mowlana (1997) on the other hand argues that international news flows from the center; the north or the west by way of their dominant agencies that is the flow is vertical from the developed to developing nations.

Mowlana (1997) continues to say that “physical, psycho cultural and political are the factors in determining news coverage in that indigenous media tend to select items regarding their own geographical region” (58). Another consideration is that Western Europe and the United States receive the grater amount of coverage in the media while the former socialist countries and third world receive the least (Mowlana,1997).

In his further studies Mowlana (1997) noted that although horizontal flows do exist within the developing as well the developed world this type of flow constitutes a substantially smaller portion of the overall coverage than doe’s vertical flow or round flow (58). It is also difficult to depict adequately the current state of research on content in international news since most authors although presenting assumptions on this aspect (Mowlana, 1997). Al Hester however says that although there has been improvement over the quantity of international news largely provided by recently established agencies as well as national and regional efforts the quality of international flow of news remains poor (Mowlana, 1997).

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Pütz (1995) further says that “westernization through the technicalization of the autochthonous languages of Africa is a possibility because the world of media technology is not a separate independent cultural system” (p. 88). The link between the two worlds can be demonstrated with the reference between technical language and general vocabulary. Pütz (1995) also says that “structurally the vocabulary of a language forms a continuum ranging from vernacular items through the technical terms used by lay people in everyday communication to the technological language used in school and ending with the role played by theory of these languages” (p. 89).

In the broad sense scholars have noted that although it is true that culture is dynamic and that it will inevitably change according to the social, political and economic forces operative in a community Pütz (1995) says that international news planners should be aware of the possible impact of changing technological language on the cultural integrity of local communities (p. 89). Looking at technological language theory from the growth of globalization it should be integrated part of a larger policy of news revalorization and thus such policy should be directed at the resistance in some communities against the use of their languages in high function situations (Pütz, 1995).

The adoption of technological language in international news in many communities is directly dependent on the existence o a dedicated infrastructure including training programs (Pütz, 1995). Pütz notes that technological language in international news can only be effectively handled by institutions with enforceable authority which in this case should have the necessary legitimacy (1995). As a result given the present socio-political situation this means that a democratic bottom-up approach should be used in the adoption of technological language. According o Pütz (1995) the approach which is to be used to encourage this adoption should directly involve the consumers that is the technologists and the people who have to use the terminology at ground level. He also says that it is essential that the cooperation of the schools as well the media in particular be used in the dissemination and establishment of technical terms (Pütz, 1995).

Tonkin & Reagan (2003) indicated that “while increased mobility of international news renders exclusive loyalties to particular customs and ways of life difficulty to maintain and that the less adaptive societies are accordingly suffering heavy cultural losses the technology that drives communities apart also offers opportunities for the maintenance of linguistic and cultural ties” (p. 6). Tonkin & Reagan (2003) also indicated that “technological innovation overlaps issues of language choice as well as questions related to language rights, language policy and education. On the other hand the international news through the internet facilitates both language diversity and language domination and this has enhanced the spread of technological language without the limitation of location (Tonkin & Reagan, 2003).

Other kinds of technological development in international news flow present similar paradoxes with other many aspects related to globalization. Besides this Tonkin & Reagan (2003) noted that “while technological innovation does make certain kinds of linguistic pluralism more viable and cost-effective, it also further entrenches the relatively small number of languages of wider communication” (p. 7). Apart from being a panacea for the very real threats to international news diversity in the modern world, technology may well be playing an important role in diminishing real language diversity by supporting more limited, essentially Eurocentric language pluralism.

There is a growing discussion on and development of multimedia computer aided language learning technology for language maintenance and revitalization speaks to this point on the revolution expected in international news Tonkin & Reagan (2003). This may be considered as a major step towards the acceptance of the current trend in technological changes in delivery of international news. Tonkin & Reagan (2003) commented that while such technology can certainly serve to gather and preserve language materials from the past or from present day endangered language communities it will not contribute to creating or supporting vital communities in which languages can perform their full social and cultural functions. In this context it is observed that while technology is marketed as relatively low-tech and inexpensive it is nevertheless well beyond the financial and infrastructural reach of most language communities around the world (Tonkin & Reagan, 2003). Tonkin & Reagan (2003) also found out that “technology may foster a faith in quick fixes that might actually stifle rather than foster the life of international news” (p. 73).

English has over the time preserved dominance in its application in the majority of international news. This according to Tonkin & Reagan (2003) means that “technology and international news have not only given English an advantage but it has also made the maintenance of small language easier: broadcasting is cheaper than it was internet connections can now augment the mass media and minority public opinion is easier to mobilize” (p. 154). On top of that English is the Microsoft of languages, the operating system that accompanies most of the words technology and therefore it occupies undisputed leadership among the languages of the world (Tonkin & Reagan, 2003).

Hoffmann (1996) found out that language plays an important function in making the citizens of Europe more versatile in their technological ability and in the flow of international news. However there are no instant solutions to a problem as deep-seated as the linguistic barriers to the development of international news in the information society. Hoffmann (1996) indicated that “language learning will play its part when particular technologies will further need to be developed and also when technological solutions will need to be devised that are cost effective and which will be easily usable by real users to perform real tasks” (p. 14).

Explain the hypothesis that the media in every country progress through three stages. What are the characteristic of media in each of the three stages and what are the variables affecting each stage of media progression.

There are several stages in which media are considered to progress in most countries around the world. West (2001) says that media stages unfold more chaotically and more gradually than do party periods marked by major elections and cataclysmic events for example Civil War. West (2001) continues to say that “despite the anomalies encountered in media development there are discernible patterns that help us to think about the long term transformation of the media and the underlying dynamics that result from these changes” (p. 5). These stages include the origins stage, take off and acceleration of intensity stage of media progress.

Chapman (2005) says that all these stages of media transformation marked the “transformation of media institutions into large scale commercial organizations, the globalization of media communication and information systems and the use of electric energy for the purposes of communication” (p. 138). Chapman (2005) says that the origin stage was witnessed in the nineteenth century, the first in the early part; the second in mid century which used the international news agencies and the telegraph.

The take off stage varies from country to country and between industries and was linked to political as well as economic and social considerations. Chapman (2005) says that “most countries saw the economic benefits of large scale investment in international news coverage” (p. 138). The acceleration of intensity is the third stage of media progress. Chapman (2005) says that while the terms of acceleration of usage they were in terms o flexibility there was still slow coverage of international news. The take off stage dealt with the ability of an increasing variety of media to influence and be used by an increasing number of people in an increasingly complex range of ways (Chapman, 2005). The acceleration stage in most countries ends with digitization and convergence media as a result of the ever evolving nature of media globalization..

The part played by effective media in education needs to be highlighted and therefore there is a need of a common technology platform for language learning which needs to created (Hoffmann, 1996). Davison (2005) established that “while changes in teaching methods reflect the social, economic and technological circumstances they are also significantly impacted on by changes in language theories and in new perspectives on media coverage” (p. 197). This implies that the literature on the use of language in media has mainly focused on discussions and debates of the pedagogical merits of technological devices used by the majority of media houses (Davison, 2005). He also says that the effective use of computers in language teaching cannot rely on the medium itself but on how it is put to use. Davison found out that the incorporation of technology in language education and in media coverage like other technological innovations takes place at various levels and as a result it is affected by different factors (2005, p. 197). These factors include the environment and the interrelating systems used in such cases.

It has been noted that the new direction of language and media technology adds an extra dimension to the discipline of traditional linguistics which has been possible due to the introduction of computer technology (Dash, 2005). Dash (2005) indicated that media technologies in linguistics has contributed to the discipline by supplying a new set of tools and techniques to accumulate examples of actual use as well as to analyze them from new perspectives unknown to the scholars. The introduction of these new technologies into language study has made major contributions in which firstly it enables us to verify if those age old theories about language and language use are worthy continuing to use, and secondly it also gives scopes for direct use of linguistic evidence and information in regular human activities (Dash, 2005).

Due to invention and advancement of computer technology over the first century this has added a new dimension to linguistics. For example Dash (2005) says that the computational linguistics (CL) is evolved as an important part of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which aims to look at language as an instrument of human communication linked with cognition. Due to the current trend in technology there is there is a technical motivation to build up intelligent computer system that will be able to make more efficient language interactions with human beings. Dash (2005) continues to indicate that “with this incentive both computer scientists and linguistic have joined hands together to develop systems for machine translation, information extraction, language understanding and generation and speech understanding and generation” (p.2).

At the same time the current engagements is that large number of people are engaged for implementing language information of various types into computer since the goals of computational linguistics and the natural language processing are to characterize computationally as far as possible the features of a natural language (Dash, 2005). Besides this arguments Ross (1994) indicated that technology is effectively inexhaustible quite like language. He continues to say that we can never step outside of the instruments of technology though we may reject or overcome any particular form of technology.

Ross (1994) says that “technology is no more perfectible than any language or language in general hence language marks the inexhaustibility, the locality and excess, of instruments and techniques of practice” (p. 116). Bodomo (2009) also indicates that there is no casual relationship between technology and new ways in which technology is used. For example by looking at the far reaching and deep changes in forms of communication technologies which characterize the present e-mail and its changing forms of language by attempting to attribute these changes to some technological innovation (Bodomo, 2009).

Other writers have gone contrary to the above argument by saying that there indeed a significant casual relationship between media communications technology and new language and literacy practices or more specifically the evolution of new ways of using language (Bodomo, 2009). Bodomo (2009) notes that new technologies in media are gradually changing the nature of the language we use. He therefore argues that it is important to understand that “scientists in the computer industry has any hidden agenda for using hardware or software development to alter human language but technology can indeed drive linguistic and social change” (p. 12). In this context, new practices of language and literacy may be attributed to a set of unique properties in the media communications technology.

Hinkel (2005) concludes that different registers for language use directly implies that the communicative languages ability for the 21st century is rapidly changing. Language in the world of technology refers to the interactive process in which meanings are produced dynamically between information technology and the world. Hinkel (2005) also says that globally the opportunities opened through communication on the internet have sparked new motivation in technology language with peers who are readily available. As a result the new uses of language created through technology and the communicative language ability required for engaging in them successfully are anything but obscure and remote to the lives of language learners (Hinkel, 2005).

In summary, both technology and media are considered to be impetus for the enormous and rapid changes in the language. According to Hinkel (2005) this is because of the increasing use of electronic communication in mass media and learning institutions much of the social and cultural effect of the stability of print has been lost along other important individuals such as editors and publishers who maintain consistent forms of language. As technology may have a major contribution in creating a gap between communities it also offers big chances of the maintaining language and cultural ties. This is because with the current trend of communication devices and media technologies the language used and technologies applied intersect at more than one area for example the interface and commands. In the media and mostly in international news English commands the biggest share because even for the majority of systems with local languages they are related to the central language which is English.


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