The era of mobile technology has helped speed up communication between individuals. This is the general notion nowadays. Everyone talks about how it is much easier to communicate with loved ones who live miles apart than it was to do so in the old days. Technology has enabled man to communicate with someone from the opposite end of the globe within minutes. Business growth has taken place because the world is now a global village thanks to technological advancements. One can call his children who are in a university abroad; one can make a video call to friends and family who live in other cities, countries and continents! How easy it has become for an individual to get in touch with another individual. It seems as if everybody is merely a phone call away! However, all that glitters is definitely not gold. Everything comes with its price and the process of development in communication technology surely comes with a heavy price; the distortion of language, the murder of manners and the loss of close bonds between individuals.
There is no language on planet earth that has emerged overnight. Languages evolve over long periods of time. They are continuously improved as language is the primary factor which makes human beings superior to all other creatures. Yet, within what seemed like the blink of an eye, communication technology has distorted languages, particularly the English language, in a ghastly manner.
Since we live in the world where nobody has enough time, we look for short cuts in everything including expression. A very small example is the use of abbreviations to show joy and happiness; LOL is part of most internet and cell phone users’ daily vocabulary! In our attempts to ‘save time’, we have no respect for manners which were once a big part of language. A few years back, if one was busy, he or she would apologize to the other person and promise to get back shortly. Nobody has time for that now. TTYL is the new way of telling people how busy you are. Where are the manners of speech? Where is the respect for others?
‘U’ is the new ‘You’ simply because it takes less time to type. Students often make the mistake of using this form of writing in their formal assignments and exams, leaving the poor old English teachers shocked and speechless!
The linguistic impacts that communication technology has had are countless. However, these are not the only impacts that this technology has had. I once read something on Facebook (oh the irony!) which said, ‘you won’t have any wifi in the forest but I promise you’ll have a better connection’. The words struck me immediately because of the meaning they held. Despite the fact that the internet has made communication so easy, it seems like the connection between people has deteriorated. One sits for hours in front of a screen, using fingers instead of one’s tongue to type words instead of saying them and using emoticons to express feelings instead of using his or her own features to do so. The mini heart attack that one gets if he or she misplaces her phone even for a small while is not because of the fact that the person won’t be able to communicate with friends. It’s because of the fear of being ‘disconnected’ from the lives of hundreds of people one has added as friends on their Facebook account. Communication as a process has sped up, yet the process of communicating has deteriorated. It feels like the human race no longer knows how to communicate.
Communication technology has definitely helped the human race. However, the damage that it has caused and continues causing with each passing day cannot be ignored. If only the world did become a forest with no wifi, there probably would be a better connection after all.