Research: Different Levels of Language Usage
Communication is an activity that forms part of daily life. This could either be verbal, use of signs or written. In the case of written communication, there are various pointers to look out for in order to judge a piece of writing as one that is grammatically correct, is coherent and is easily understandable. The five different levels of written language are phonology (use of sounds), syntax (the arrangement of words), semantics (merging different meanings of words into a single meaning), conceptual knowledge (use of common sense and beliefs in figuring out the context in which a word is used) and language fluency which basically deals with determining the chronological sequence of events in a statement. Generally, the usage of language depends on the situation hence one should either be formal or informal depending on the occasion. The purpose of this paper is to reveal how these different levels of language can be used to convey a message to a specific audience. It contains examples which serve to recreate real life scenarios and how the language used is different for different levels. However, it does not delve deep into the aspect of analyzing the sentences to show for example the use of subject-verb agreement. Notably, speakers have to always be conscious of the type of audiences and purposes they are addressing and structure their speeches and writings to suit them in order for them to understand each other.
When writing, one should put the purpose and type of audience to be addressed into careful consideration. For example, a letter written to a friend cannot have the same tone as the one applying for a job in an organization (Hackbarth 94). An application should assume a more formal approach without digressing into other issues that are not relevant to the requirements assigned. Often words like Sir/Madam, kindly and thank you accompany such kind of an undertaking. However, when writing to a friend, even the mode of greetings is friendlier and jokes can be entertained. For example, instead of good morning, one can say hi? The mood of an informal piece of writing is one that is relaxed. In contrast, a formal setting demands seriousness in articulating issues.
In addition, before using any vocabulary, the audiences need to be weighed to check their suitability for a specific topic. This is done to avoid the use of jargon- special words that are used by few groups of people who have something in common (Stephen 1). These could be engineers, doctors or even computer technicians. The use of such words to a general audience is not advisable as some people may not understand the point being put across. In fact, sometimes these words can be misinterpreted thereby distorting the original meaning of the message. Nevertheless, when it is certain that the audience is specialized in that field, use of jargon is recommended as this would show that one has the grasp of the contents of that topic.
Furthermore, confusing language should be avoided. Confusing words have the tendency to make statements sound ambiguous and as a result appears complex to comprehend (Trueswell and Tanenhaus 133).Sometimes, this can be seen as boastful whereas at other times, the real intentions of the statements cannot be easily figured out. It is much better to use simple words and be understood rather than big words that leave the reader or listener with many question marks. This could be assign of intellectual weakness and lack of proper research in that field.
Similarly, no stereotypical language should be used. Definitely, everyone has an opinion on virtually any issue in the world-racism, obesity and even people with disabilities, among other issues. It is immature and insensitive to say offending things about such minorities (Attapol 832).Though it could be an honest opinion, it might end up being discriminatory and thus attract unnecessary attention. As a result, the argument that was being put forth is watered down.
In formal setups, the use of slang is prohibited too (McWhorter 12). Such words as cool or y’all do not in any way make one seem sophisticated. As a matter of fact, they reduce the credibility levels. Likewise, it is ethically accepted that non-sexist language should be employed in writings as it is the most preferred. This means that instead of using words such as mankind, the use of humanity is more appropriate. The use of deceiving words is not encouraged too. Words such as collateral damage when in fact one wants to talk about how innocent victims were killed should not be used because it could be seen as trying to hide something from the readers.
It is always the desire of a writer to be understood by all the readers. Equally, the readers would want to be informed in a manner that is logical and sensible both in grammar and in their morality. The responsibility is therefore thrust upon the writer to consider the audience’s expectations against the intended purpose of the writing. Consequently, any piece of writing should be clear, understandable and relevant to the targeted audience.
Hackbarth, Steven. The Educational Technology Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide: Process and Products for Learning. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Educational Technology Publications, 1996. Print. An exciting step by step account on how to properly use language. Hackbarth has managed to fuse simple English with pictures to produce a brilliant book that is able to capture one’s attention. The topics are chronologically arranged although some have a more in-depth analysis. This book can be used by people of almost all ages.
Khamkien, Attapol.Thai Learners’ English Pronunciation Competence: Lesson Learned from Word Stress Assignment. Journal of Language Teaching Research. Volume 1.2010. 832. Print. This is an exhaustive research into all matters concerning language, particularly the choice of words. It is a very detailed piece of writing full of many examples. These examples help in visualizing what Attapol is trying to inform the reader. It is time involving but in the end it is worthwhile. It clearly differentiates between the various aspects of language with the Thai language dominating most of his cases. It is quite inspiring as well and can act as a guide for future research papers.
McWhorter, John. Is Texting killing The English Language? Time. 25 April, 2013. 12. Print. Mcwhorter is a savvy author who blends tradition with modernity. Whereas his major focus is on the use of cell phones, he does a great job of talking about various types of communication and how language has evolved. His writing is well researched and it also offers a historical perspective of the subject matter: language use. Some of the words used are familiar with the youth but there are also expressions that senior citizens will be well conversant with. Interestingly, there are a number of recommendations on how language can be better used in future. This is one of the article’s major selling points.
Stephen, Carol. Audience: Use their Language. Your Social Media Works. 10October, 2013. Web. 22 November, 2013. This blog majorly deals with the different usages of language primarily in the media. It has a series of sub headings that direct the reader to any specific topic of choice. Stephen’s blog does not use complicated words and makes reference to current affairs as part of her examples hence will be a pleasant read for most readers. She sneaks in a few of her real life experiences. This creates a connection to the issues discussed especially on knowing one’s audience thus making her writing very interesting. It offers wonderful insight to anyone wishing to know more about levels of language use.
Trueswell, John C, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. Approaches to Studying World-Situated Language Use: Bridging the Language-As-Product and Language-As-Action Traditions. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2005.133. Print. The authors deal with more aspects of language use from simple gestures as greetings to more complex issues like the appropriate use of jargon. However, their command of English is very high and this could prove intellectually challenging to some people. Nevertheless, the text is quite engaging and is guaranteed to make the reader an active participant. It is also well organized. It offers a deeper analysis of issues hence a valuable asset to more advanced learners.