You are about to watch a youtube video as you click the settings button to turn on the subtitles. You want English, but the video has so many other options: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and more. It is amazing when one realizes how much language has developed over the years. The fact that there are so many languages used throughout the world shows how people still pass on their language to others. However, the abundance of languages is not the only way that language has developed overtime. The ways in which we use language, like reading, writing, and speaking have developed dramatically. In today’s world, reading is popular in the form of texts, instagram and facebook posts, along with the traditional ways such as books and papers. Listening is popular through podcasts and videos. Speaking will always stand the test of time through human interaction and having conversations with others. 

Language has developed so much that we can mix reading, writing, and speaking together. For example, reading out loud had been popular for years. From parents reading bedtime stories to their children to performances on stage, this form of language is still very much used today. Reading out loud also has many benefits, “ancient art of reading aloud has a number of benefits for adults, from helping improve our memories and understand complex texts, to strengthening emotional bonds between people” (Hardach). Reading out loud is a form of language because it is a way for people to communicate with each other, which is the beautiful thing about language. Language is not just what tongue you speak with, it can also be interpreted as how one uses their language. When we speak out loud, it allows us to be personal. It contains a more conversation-like structure. For example, sending a text saying “HMU” (hit me up) can be very generic, but asking someone in person if they would like to get together in the future to pick up a cup of coffee or lunch is a better and more personal way to interact with the other person. 

There have also been devices made to allow for this type of personal touch as well, “There have also been changes in the language we use to interact with the web itself. Apps like Siri and Google Now encourage users to ask questions in a natural form of speech. Instead of inputting a boolean term such as ‘symptoms flu -fever’ people commonly type and verbally ask questions like, ‘what are the symptoms of flu’” (Baraniuk). These ways discussed, reading, hearing, talking, and the web, are developing themselves throughout our lives and will continue to develop. But why are they still developing? How can concepts as simple as these still have room for growth? Baraniuk says the following, “In other words, maybe we’re just more aware now of how language constantly gets re-shaped and re-moulded thanks to the fact that these innovations get shared in written forms online, for the whole web (potentially) to see”. So the next time you send a text, watch a video, google something, or simply talk to a friend, you have the opportunity to think about how these fundamentals of language have developed overtime. 

Sophie Hardach. “Why You Should Read This out Loud.” BBC Future, BBC, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200917-the-surprising-power-of-reading-aloud.

Chris Baraniuk. “Why We’re Talking Differently about the Web.” BBC Future, BBC, www.bbc.com/future/article/20160401-why-were-talking-differently-about-the-web. 

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  1. Alex T. 2 weeks ago

    Julia, I like how you compared texting to speaking in person. It helps to add contrast between the two to help understand how much more personal verbal communication is. I liked your article a lot. I feel that it had great info and you provided plenty of real life examples that helps the reader get a sense of what you are discussing.

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