21st February 2017

Language Analysis Essay – Fi

“The richness of spoken language is often misinterpreted by online communiction.”

When contacting people online, much of what we say can be interpreted by the other person in a way that is different from how we visualise it, purely because prosodic and paralinguistic features are harder to communicate online than in spoken language. Prosodic features are aspects of you voice such as pitch, tone, volume, pace, and rhythm. Paralinguistic features include aspects such as body language and facial expression. These features are non-verbal forms of communication which are hard to express through text, If expressed, the most common way these features are expressed online and through text is through emojis, punctuation and capital letters. These features have always existed and come naturally for everyone in spoken language, they are not something we  try to do, they happen as we speak, for example when agreeing with someone we often raise our eyebrows and nod as the person is talking to us, we use this as a way of agreeing without interrupting the person as they speak. There are many examples of these features like, hand gestures, and movement, we point and move our hands in a way that may help the person/people we are communicating with understand our point and a way of reinforcing what you’re saying.

An example of prosodic and paralinguistic features displayed through text is a conversation between Mia and I.

Fi: Hey

Mia: Yoooo, what you doing 2morrow?

Fi: Not much probably just school then chill hbu?

Mia: Same same, lets do something ????

Fi: Sounds good! I’d be keen, what do you have in mind?????

Mia: Hmmmm lake and ice-cream?

Fi: Yes im keen as a been can we get gelato!?

Fi: Swim if good day!

Mia: Yussss ???? ????

Fi: Love me some black peak

Mia: Faaaaab, talk lata ???? (glasses and teeth emoji)

In this example you can see the pattern in emojis and how we use them, if this was a spoken conversation instead of emojis we would use prosodic and paralinguistic features to help  communicate our ideas.




Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. This piece is a good, reasoned exploration of modern spoken and online language. It is precise in its analysis with some work will be able to provide extensive and illuminating evidence to support this analysis.

    Each time you make a point where you make a reference to a language effect, use one of the examples from your transcript to support this. This means that ultimately each language effect that you’ve identified (examples of prosody, paralinguistic features etc) is likely to be dealt with in its own paragraph – where you give an example and explain how the example illuminates the point you’re making about the way we speak.

    The next step after this is to develop more of an authorial voice. Currently the analysis is strong in logic and fact, now it’s time to develop a tone. This can be done initially by working on the introduction. Use the introduction to address some of the views that people hold about young people’s use of contemporary language, perhaps even quote some of these views, and then point to how wrong you believe these perceptions are. Then you will be able to make minor alterations to your analysis paragraphs in order that they support this initial position.

    Ideally, in the end, you’ll have written a piece that could be published as a feature article in a literary magazine that explores language in the contemporary context. Think in terms of having a reader to appeal to.

    You have all the building blocks in place – now it’s just a matter of structure and style.

    (Consider using a catchy title to focus your argument too)



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About Fiona

Born in Christchurch, One of New Zealand's children, dweller of the south island, I enjoy being called Fi, thanks. Spelling needs work. Yep. Nice.