Media-generated language realities

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Media-generated language realities

Post by spiritus » Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:41 pm

While reading the article referenced below, Phil White's "Language engineering" posting came to mind.
http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?t=18209

How effective is media at creating our beliefs and the personal realities that they generate?

[h]Shanghai Bans Chinese Internet Slang Terms[/h]

(AP)SHANGHAI, China (Sept. 23) - So long, "MM," "PK," and "konglong."

The language police in Shanghai, China's largest city, plan to ban those and other Chinese Internet slang terms from classrooms, official documents, and publications produced in the city, newspapers reported Friday.

"On the Web, Internet slang is convenient and satisfying, but the mainstream media have a responsibility to guide proper and legal language usage (italics mine)," the Shanghai Morning Post quoted city official Xia Xiurong as saying.

...hugely popular with China's increasingly computer-literate youth, who employ an ad-hoc vocabulary of invented, abbreviated and borrowed terms such as "MM," meaning girl, "PK," or player killer, for one's competitor, "konglong" or dinosaur for an unattractive woman...

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article ... e3&cid=936
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Media-generated language realities

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:29 am

The Chinese authorities can try to control the language of their youth and public life as much as they like, but I can guarantee that they won't succeed any better in this enterprise than the Académie Française has succeeded in abolishing 'le weekend' or 'le parking' among the French. For one thing, they will be shooting at a moving target: if they succeed in filtering out one term for an 'MM', another will immediately replace it.

Vive la différence!

This story reminds me of the anecdote about the famous barrister F E Smith, to whom a judge once complained that he was none the wiser after hearing Smith present his side of the case he was trying.

"Possibly not, my Lord," replied Smith, "but you are a great deal better informed."
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Media-generated language realities

Post by spiritus » Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:08 am

Erik_Kowal wrote: The Chinese authorities can try to control the language of their youth and public life as much as they like, but I can guarantee that they won't succeed...
Speaking of "better informed", I've often wondered why those entities of authority seem often to be "stuck on stupid". It appears obvious, as most sociological histories indicate, that the very act of attempting to control language discourse, engenders a subversion of the controlling dictate. This reaction is not limited to marginalized social groups like the young, minorities, or women; even the majority group may find cause to take issue with a particular "language law". That observation has been articulated far better then I'm capable of:
The PC [political correctness] movement exists not in order to improve the well-being of those whose oppression it purports to combat. Rather, its purpose is to wrap its proponents in a kind of verbal comfort-blanket. Beneath its complacent cosiness and nauseating sanctimony, the intrepid shock-troops of 'populist authoritarianism' pretend that suppressing the language of prejudice is the same as eliminating prejudice itself. Smug and self-satisfied, having assuaged whatever guilt they may have felt through their attacks on the 'non-PC', they ignore the real inequalities, ignominies and powerlessness of those whom they pretend to champion. They are instead complacently content at their 'victory' in contorting the language of 'acceptable' discourse in the classroom, in the textbook and in the mass media. ~Erik Kowal, as posted on The Wordwizard Portal http://www.quotegarden.com/language.html
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Media-generated language realities

Post by aelnamer » Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:08 am

Although it would be difficult to control the language, it would be very easy, to some degree, to control the medium. I regularly chat with friends (web cam in their homes and cafes) in Libya, the authorities are starting to secretly visit the cafés. They are concerned that people are able to speak freely about inside politics. It is a big risk; there was a time that you were not even able to own a photocopier, for the fear of distributing propaganda leaflets against the regime. On the other hand owning a computer at home has become an ordinary thing for the locals.
Ahmed
23rd of September 2005
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Media-generated language realities

Post by spiritus » Sat Sep 24, 2005 7:03 am

aelnamer wrote: Although it would be difficult to control the language, it would be very easy, to some degree, to control the medium...
---Ahmed
23rd of September 2005
Ahmed, I'm thinking of an American writer and social critic with the possible last name of McCluhan or McClugan. His popularity peaked in the late 60's or early 70's. I'm not sure of the name, but I do remember a popular quote from his writings; "the medium is the message (language)." Which I suppose says; control of the medium is control of the language.

Case in point being:
News media assumptions about language and discourse

Simply communicating by written or spoken words introduces bias to the message. If, as asserted earlier, there is no such thing as an objective point of view, then there cannot be objective or transparent language, i.e. a one-to-one correspondence between reality and words such that I may accurately represent reality so that you experience it as I do. Language mediates our lived experiences. And our evaluation of those experiences are reflected in our language use. Rhetoric scholar James A. Berlin once said that language is "never innocent." By this he meant that language cannot be neutral; it reflects and structures our ideologies and world views. To speak at all is to speak politically. The practice of journalism, however, accepts a very different view of language that creates serious consequences for the news consumer. Most journalists do their jobs with little or no thought given to language theory, i.e. how language works and how humans use language. Most journalists, consciously or not, accept a theory (metaphor) of language as a transparent conduit along which word-ideas are easily sent to a reader or viewer who then experiences reality as portrayed by the words.
http://rhetorica.net/bias.htm
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:31 am

I suspect you are thinking of Marshall McLuhan, whose official website (by which I mean the one set up on behalf of his executors) is located at http://www.marshallmcluhan.com .
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Media-generated language realities

Post by spiritus » Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:38 pm

Yes Erik, that is the "MM" I have in mind. Thank you kindly for both "links".
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Post by aelnamer » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:49 pm

Che, Interesting perspective. Thank you both, for the links.
Ahmed
30th of September,2005
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