Comparing spoken and written communication Spoken language and web based communication are different from each other: they both have different features and aspects. Spoken language takes place in person, is transitory and relies on sounds. Whereas web based communication takes place online where speakers can be many miles apart during a conversation. So the features in web based communication are not present in spoken communication. A common factor which is required for a spoken conversation is turn-taking.
This is when another speaker(s) allow the active speaker to finish conveying their point without interrupting. An example in my transcript is ‘Or do you want to check? ’ which is a complete utterance then the reply is ‘We’ll both check’. After person H has finished speaking only then does person F reply, this makes sure that the person speaking has the chance to say what they want to. Turn-taking allows a long and meaningful conversation to take place. If a speaker is interrupted, the other speaker will not be able to produce a sufficient response, causing the conversation to eventually end.
Many spoken conversation conversations contain spontaneity; face to face conversations have to be quick and spontaneous. Speakers need to think of what they are going to say almost immediately. Rapid responses can avoid awkward and unwanted pauses. Sometimes the time given for a response is often too short, so to give the speaker some time to think about what to say next, fillers are used. An example is ‘Erm, I don’t know’. Fillers are commonly used at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle when the speaker is unsure of what to say (next).
Without fillers the previous speaker may think they are still required to speak. We based communication can be considered as a mixture of written and spoken language as it has the spontaneous feature of spoken language but written as it gives the reader some margin in the time for their response. Some features such as fillers and non-fluency pauses are not displayed in web based language. Also as it is not done face to face, responders use other means of showing emotion, emphasis and in some circumstances, context.
This leads to my first difference between web based and spoken language. As web based communication is made mostly of numbers, words and symbols. The actual meaning in spoken language is normally shown by the speakers tone, facial expression and gestures – which can be distorted, making it hard to display the literal meaning of text (pragmatics). So to get around this situation, online communications often use numbers, symbols and emoticons as representations of facial expressions.
For example person F says ‘Yh, it woz sooo easy :)’ the emoticon was made using a colon and a closing bracket, indicating the casual and acknowledging manner as it would have been spoken as it a face to face conversation between person F and H. Features like these are not present in spoken language because they are already indicated by paralinguistic features. For example hand/body gestures and facial language of the speaker(s) which allow the pragmatic meaning and context to be understood properly.
Another difference between spoken and web based communication is the way particular words and phrases are accentuated with the purpose to change the anticipated meaning. In spoken language this is done through the elongation of words such as ‘Hiiii’, or through altering the intonation of the voice, these are examples of prosodic features. Elongation is when a word is extended to place emphasis on the word(s) and to highlight its significance in the conversation However, while elongation of words in web based communication can simply be depicted as the repletion of vowels or consonants.
Words in web based communication are not heard but read; consequently the physical varying of dynamics cannot be expressed. I have explored the differences between web based and spoken language but similarities are also shared between the two. Whilst speaking, specifically during long conversations, speakers often wish to speak as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid zoning out and causing ear aches to yourself or the person you are talking to.
Therefore to avoid any of the above from happening elision and ellipsis are used, elision is the omission of a vowel or syllable to make a word shorter by omitting a vowel or syllable (e. g. didn’t, won’t, can’t, etc. ) or by combining two words together for example: gonna which is going and to, wanna which is want and to. Elision is when whole words are removed from context but the utterance can still be understood for example ‘Same, just sitting down. ’ is a shortened version of ‘I’m doing the same thing, just sitting down’.
This is also visible in web based communication; ellipsis and elision are used to convey a message quicker. However, unlike in spoken communication, this is done because many people are not able to type letters quickly or some websites such as twitter impose a character limit so acronyms and abbreviations are used to reduce the number of letters, spaces, symbols and numbers in the message. An example of an acronym is ‘…g2g… ’ this stands for ‘got to go’ so it is a more rapid way of getting a message across using 2 letters and a number, especially when a person online has to go.
Word shortening, using ellipsis and elision is more apparent online than in spoken language. The word length is determined by how many syllables a word has, not letters. For that reason numerous acronyms are used online as opposed to a spoken conversation, as acronyms do not provide any benefit in spoken communication. In today’s society and culture spoken communication is valued more than web based communication; this is why a good speech holds more significance and inspiration than an article online, spoken communication is genuine, authentic and unique.
This could be due to the fact that the speakers tone, facial expression, gestures and emotion is expressed, whereas in web based communication we stare an emotionless, cold and bare wall of text. It may also be attributable to the point that the full capability of the internet has not yet been demoralised. Many people see web speak as one of the factors that vitiates the English language and contributes to poor spelling and bad grammar. Conversely others see it as a quick, efficient and practical way of communicating with one another when the means to do so are limited in terms of length and speech.