Language without words

Do you speak the language of the digital era? If so – great! Because this new way of communication has numerous advantages!

I ncomplete sentences without punctuation, abbreviations, new words and emojis. Is this the age of the downfall of language? How has the digital revolution changed the way we communicate? A look at 3 trends:

An emoji is worth a thousand words!

„How are you?” – „:(“. The message is clear: The other person is not doing so well. Smartphones have made emojis popular. These symbols can enrich our language because a picture is worth a thousand words! Thanks to their illustrative character, emojis put things in a nutshell and make it possible to communicate without using many words.

Thanks to their illustrative character, emojis put things in a nutshell and make it possible to communicate without using many words.

There is another advantage to emojis as well: They are universal as symbols. A face that is laughing or crying is interpreted the same way around the world. Some researchers even refer to a lingua franca for pictograms. You often hear people talking on their phones say things like „I'm on my way home!”, „I can't talk right now, I'm in the checkout line at the supermarket” or „I'm listening to the latest song by...”.

I communicate, therefore I am

The chances of this happening in the future are not as high because we will automatically be sharing information with our conversation partner. There are already services that show what music we are currently listening to. Soon we will be able to automatically share our location, body temperature, pulse and how many steps we have taken that day. All of this is data we consciously or unconsciously collect or submit with our tablets, smartwatches or activity trackers, giving others an idea of how and what we are doing. Sharing For skeptics of frictionless sharing, this trend is a nightmare. Which is why it is all the more important to configure apps and data privacy settings accordingly.

New ways of spelling

Who needs capitalization to chat about last weekend's party? "how was last w/e?" This colloquial way of writing resembles oral narration. Everyone texts the way they would speak and then add plenty of images and symbols. The result is direct, emotional communication that comes very close to our oral way of communicating. However, this does not necessarily signify deterioration of language skills: People who regularly switch back and forth between concise chat-lingo and proper, standard language in their professional lives are able to expand and refine their language skills. According to Beate Henn-Memmesheimer, professor for linguistics at the University of Mannheim, deciding which type of communication is appropriate for a specific situation requires sensitivity as well as linguistic and social skills.