The Influence Of The Language Of Social Media On The English Language
The boom in the use of social media in our time has no doubt brought a lot alteration in different language conventions. The early users of social media battled with space and time. Since social media language is in the borderline of speech and writing they created unusual acronyms and some other new words, like ‘u’, ur, ‘unfriend’ etc not only to communicate faster but also to maximize the limited space they have. Some linguists began to protest as these coinages were not only used within the circle of social media and informal writing but began to get into the mainstream of the English language. They see it as a threat to their language. This paper takes a different stand as it sees this trend as sign of language change. We know that people’s passion for their language has propelled them to constantly keep vigil to make sure it is protected. This has led to the creation of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ which have continued to hinder the operations of the language. But language change is so subtle that the users hardly realize when it occurs.
1.1 Background to the Study
Social media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. In Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein’s definition, social media is ‘a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content’ (para 1)Social Media is the future of communication, a countless array of internet-based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information. This new form of media makes the transfer of text, photos, audio, video, and information in general increasingly fluid among internet users. Social media has relevance not only for regular internet users, but for business as well. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Whatsapp have created online communities where people can share as much or as little personal information as they desire with other members. The result is an enormous amount of information that can be easily shared, searched, promoted, disputed, and created. Social Bookmarking tools and news sites such as Digg, Delicious, reddit, and countless others make finding specific information, images, or websites increasingly simple by assigning or “tagging” individual sites with searchable key words. Due to the fast growing Information Communication Technology, English is a vital tool for communication among people around the world. That is because the Internet or World Wide Web enables an important event happening in a part of the world to be simultaneously and clearly broadcast to people in other parts of the world with pictures, texts, and video clip, etc. People with different races who speak different languages can consume the same piece of information or news, and share it to other internet users or netizens, and of course the core language used on the internet or websites is English language. That’s why English is regarded as “World Language”, or “Global Language”. Moreover, the communication channel does not lie on face to face communication, but it mostly lies on reading and writing texts on varieties of websites. This leads to the term “Texting Generation” referring to young people who excessively love texting messages to one another anywhere and anytime. Since time passes, the need of internet users has been satisfied more and more by the development of web technology from 1.0 – webs presenting only texts to 2.0 or web application or programs enabling each user to be able not only to retrieve information in the form of texts, pictures, and video clips but also to connect to one another on web pages. And this kind of online communication technology has become ‘social media’. The convenience and charm of social media capture the attention, and consume much longer time of more and more internet users. Social networking is the latest online communication tool that allows users to establish profiles and share information with other users. The development of English language is accelerating with the growth of social networks. The Guardian, a press association also mentioned that the Internet has revolutionized English language by making misspelling and new alien jargons the norm, people tends to type faster on the Internet and this generates a unique behavior that ignores the importance of proper language. This issue was constantly tracked by experts, but the answer and solution remained unrevealed.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Internet has slowly transformed from something we want, to something we need. Social network is one of the most important elements for Internet, which connects everyone on this planet. This connection has facilitated many things and benefited a lot of people. One of the most widely used social network is Facebook, consists of more than 1.2 billion active users in 2014. Besides Facebook, there are many other social networking sites that serve different features and functionality such as Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and many more. But, unexpected things always happen without warning. The usage of social network is beneficial for many things, but is it necessarily good for everything? Some said that the language used in social network is not necessarily correct, and it might affect other users, and domino effects occurred. Internet slang came together with the rapid growth of social networks. Internet slang refers to a set of different short forms and language used by internet users such as LOL (laugh out loud), ROFL (roll on floor laugh), AFK (away from keyboard) and so forth. Some afraid that the excessive usage of internet slangs will vanish the traditional English vocabs. On the other side, there are people who defend internet slangs, such as David Crystal, an honorary professor of linguistics at University of Bangor. “The internet is an amazing medium for languages, language itself changes slowly but the Internet has speeded up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly.” he told BBC News. Social networks not only connect people, they also provide a medium to share information with the world. For example, Facebook offers a feature called Pages, which enabled anyone to open a page, to share information, promote websites, links, and news. The question is, are these links, news, and information conveying proper form of English? Is it harmful for the users’ English proficiency?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objectives of the study are;
- To define the relationship between English proficiency and usage of social networking sites
- To investigate the relationship between self-perceived English proficiency and usage of social networking sites
- To ascertain the influence of the language of social media on the English language
- To ascertain the relationship between language of social media and academic performance
1.4 Research Hypotheses
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
- H0: there is no relationship between English proficiency and usage of social networking sites.
H1: there is a relationship between English proficiency and usage of social networking sites.
- H02: there is no relationship between language of social media and academic performance
H2: there is a relationship between language of social media and academic performance
1.5 Significance of the Study
This section will provide readers a rough idea about how important is this research project and its impacts to the society. With the growth of digital medias such as smart phones and computers, social networks have become part of the human’s life. The formations of this norm arise from the duration of practices and peer influence. It is questionable that whether these practices are harmful or beneficial. Thus, this research was aimed to research on the influence of the language of social media on the English language. This study will also serve as a reference to anybody that will research on this topic.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study covers the influence of the language of social media on the English language. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) Availability of Research Material:
The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational Privacy:
Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
Language is a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system.
Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca. Named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to England, it ultimately derives its name from the Anglia (Angeln) peninsula in the Baltic Sea. It is closely related to the Frisian languages
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the influence of the language of social media on the English language. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of the language of social media on the English language
This study was on the influence of the language of social media on the English language. Four objectives were raised which included: To define the relationship between English proficiency and usage of social networking sites, to investigate the relationship between self-perceived English proficiency and usage of social networking sites, to ascertain the influence of the language of social media on the English language, to ascertain the relationship between language of social media and academic performance. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected secondary schools in Uyo local government in Akwa Ibom state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made principals, vice principals administration, senior staff and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
This research has provided several important information on how SNSs influenced the academic sectors negatively and positively. Besides, various limitations had been experienced by this study and stated clearly, these information is extremely crucial for other researchers to conduct similar study in the future.
There are some recommendations following the findings of the study:
- Adopting technology in general and social media sites in particular as a teaching strategy in universities when teaching English skills for effectiveness and better academic achievement.
- For generalization, validity and applicability, similar studies should be conducted on other language aspects and skills.
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