The shift in language refers to how many people today use emojis, the abbreviation of words, and likes/reactions, to communicate with others. Take for example sending a heart emoji after a significant other sent an “I love you,” text message. Do both messages elicit the same reaction or genuine feeling if it were actually said in person? Our phones and computer screens gives us the opportunity to hide ourselves and our true feelings from others. This sets us up to not have the emotional intelligence to know how to freely express ourselves. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotion. Just as how Orwell warned us in 1984 through the language of Newspeak, we might be setting ourselves up to not have the ability to fully express what we really mean. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… there will be no words in which to express it [thoughtcrime].”  The point of newspeak is to eradicate feeling or expression through language. With today’s use of technology and social media, we are affecting our emotional intelligence, and not for the better.

Just as Pamela Pavliscak wrote, “We lean on auto-predict emojis to populate our texts, choose Facebook reactions over a heartfelt comment (or, gasp!, a phone call), and select clever gifs to smooth out the rough edges of our internet experience.” Texts and emojis don’t express what we fully are feeling or wanting to say. We begin to resort to these easy ways because it puts a barrier to what one is actually feeling in fear of rejection or judgement. If we begin to resort to these limited forms of expression, we might lose sight to what we are actually feeling. But do humans even need a complex language to fully get our message across?

Humans don’t need language to understand basic concepts, but it is necessariy to form complex ideas. The article, Do We Need Language to Think argues that, “basic thinking may not necessarily involve sentence structure in our mind. We still have some form of “inner voice” that we use to be self-aware of the world around us and apply our thinking to what we intend to do with that world.” The video, Complex Thoughts and Language, also supports the idea that language is not necessary to form concepts. So our slow shift from long sentences to short abbreviated sentences does not completely eradicate our ability to think such concepts. The video for example uses, oppression. If the word oppression was deleted from our vocabulary, humans would still have the ability to think and feel oppressed. The video then begins to explain that although in eradicating oppression from our vocabulary, there will be a disconnect in fully understanding what oppression is therefore limiting our emotional intelligence. Referring back to the article, “Language is important for developing extensive concepts and for abstract thinking, something humans have evolved into doing. Language provides a set of rules that helps us organize our thoughts and construct logical meaning with our thoughts.”

In 1984, Orwell presents readers with a society that is shortening, and changing its vocabulary or rather language everyday. Through this new langauge of Newspeak, in 1984, its purpose is to limit the population from expression. If the population loses its ability to fully express what they feel, the easier it is to control them. Today, we aren’t necessarily getting rid of words from our vocabulary, but we are using abbreviations (lol), symbols (emojis), and short commentary (reactions) in our everyday life and has become significant in our language. Putting this restriction or limit to our methods of expression, not only limits us from fully expressing ourselves, but it is also putting a strain in our emotional intelligence. We will begin to lose the real life connections with people and soon, we won’t have the ability to form them. Solutions to avoid diminishing our emotional intelligence, Pavlicek suggests being creative in our emotional expression. We must not always result to using emojis or other abbreviated words. Using our words, instead of sending gif or a short text. Using words in maybe making a phone call or saying what you truly mean. Resisting categories social media provides. For example, instead of using Facebook reactions, comment on the post and say what you mean. Orwell warned us about our use of language and technology. Change is inevitable, we must adjust in order for humanity not to lose their ability of expression.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 How does the shift in language in today’s society affect our emotional intelligence? by Patricia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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