Dear readers and followers,
I am terribly sorry about not having published the next video yet, I am having serious issues with the internet connection, but I will keep you posted on the news, and I will make up for that as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I would like to reflect on the way we communicate, being aware of the fact that I am the first one who may forget that there are as many issues in communication as means to communicate. I am not saying anything special if I affirm that the way we communicate has radically changed in the latest years. I am not going to affirm that texting is killing our language and all that, or that people are not able to write anymore due to autocorrect and so on. I don’t believe so, and I think this video summarises my ideas pretty much.
What I do believe, though, is that people often have a wide range of communication means and yet are not conscious of the potential of them. We keep saying that MT will not replace translators because the language is a lot more than just words, but we forget that same idea when we use any kind of IM.
If we go back to Jakobson and his functions of language, we have one that I consider of paramount importance: the phatic function. As Wikipedia explains it,
The phatic function is language for the sake of interaction and is therefore associated with the Contact/Channel factor. The Phatic Function can be observed in greetings and casual discussions of the weather, particularly with strangers. It also provides the keys to open, maintain, verify or close the communication channel: “Hello?”, “Ok?”, “Hummm”, “Bye”…
When we have a conversation face to face, we don’t need to check the channel on a regular basis, because we receive all the visual and sound inputs that are part of communication. But what happens when the conversation takes place through a different channel? Do we keep in mind the specificities of each communication mean, or are we so used to communicate through a phone, either on voice or video calls, or through any kind of IM, that we just forget they all depend on different factors?
I am a huge fan of social media and IM, partly due to the fact of living far away of my most beloved ones, and partly because, after receiving the worst from these tools, I am now learning the best of them. I try to constantly keep in mind the environment I am in, to avoid misunderstanding, enough of them I had already for a lifetime, I believe, but it is not always possible.
I think everyone of us has little things that are rules for messaging: my friends know that, no matter what the message sounds like, I am not angry if I put three exclamation points; also, if I am not sure of what the text may sound like, I put a happy emoticon or emoji to make it clear. But does everyone keep that in mind or is aware of the environment in which the conversation is happening?
Apart from misspelled word and bad grammar, something that really makes me cringe on chat are recriminations such as “We are on chat, you cannot see my face” and “I was joking, do you understand jokes?” The origin of the word communication is the Latin word for participate, with the same root of the word common. Considering that, if one doesn’t want to listen, what the other person says has no importance at all; in the same way, if one’s way of communicating is sterile and missing all the aspects but words, the other person will have very little chances of getting the right message. For these reasons, when typing it would be good to remember that the other person is not able to see the facial expression, and try to obviate that issue instead of stating it after as a justification. In the same way, a joke needs the tone of the voice and often the gestures, therefore it is harder to understand one on a written mean; to that we always have to add that no one can understand all the jokes in the world, and that the fact of making a joke doesn’t automatically mean that that joke or that person are funny, regardless of the mean used to communicating.
Communication is, by definition, a two-way road, it cannot be one way. Thinking it that way, are we able to drive any kind of figurative vehicles on that road, and do we know the rules, or are we just someone who stole a car and is behind the wheel for the first time?
Thinking about that, don’t forget to keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!