By Hernan Velasco
Opposing the common argument that social networking is a ballast for the development of college students’ grammar, spelling, semantic, morphological and lexical capacity; the statistics indicate after the cultural depression of this past lustrum caused by the violent emergence of technology, that college students are giving again the importance to our language that it deserves.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking places are not only spaces for entertainment in the vast world of the internet, but also an intellectual Upper Room where members exposed, conscientiously and meticulously, post their ideas, defend their beliefs, and debate the current events of the world. This is the new subtle entertainment of the new decade.
Most of the people that frequent these debating rooms are uneasy college students who dissipate their dissatisfaction while expressing their thoughts by posting their opinions. And also to prove their rivals wrong and obtain respect from viewers, they must make use of an impeccable language avoiding neologisms, vulgarisms and profanity.
“Most of us that read opinions, independently of our tendencies, social class or religion, know that a comment full of spelling errors has no opposition against a comment that has respected the grammar rules of our language”, said Alexandra Molina, a student who normally visits the forums of opinion that are provided by the web edition of El Pais newspaper.
Students are now frequenting the online dictionary more often to be sure of their spelling. Also, during the labor they discover that dictionaries and encyclopedias are fun tools that help us enrich our imagination.
“On my way to find out if the word ignorance ended with ance or ence I also found out, besides my lack of authority to use the this word, that ignorant is not a pejorative word if one knows how to use it correctly. I was ignorant of the fact that dictionaries can be very useful,” said Jason Hernandez, a sophomore studying criminal justice.
Not only have students involved in college issues increased their vocabulary and improved their semantic precision, college students who have low interest in the good use of language have succumbed to the rules of grammar to have a decent and respectable voice on the internet.
Beatriz Jimenez, another student, illustrates this idea: “When I check my Facebook on my iPhone I reread my postings to not allow anyone to make fun of me. I remember one day I was having a public discussion with a friend on her Facebook, and she demolished all my arguments by a ‘learn how to write first’. I felt very upset.”
However, the colloquial language of students prevails in the intimate sphere: text messages. “It is logical”, said Ammerman Campus Adjunct History Professor Matt Knowlan. He explains that we are obliged to adjust our language depending on the amount of people our audience consists of. And Facebook, that has made us more popular, it is not the exception.
Nevertheless, the comments college students post on YouTube show a different perspective. There, no one knows your identity: It is hidden by an indecipherable username. Therefore, why would one care about winning a debate?
Karen Gomez, a sophomore studying to become a dietetic technician, shares her anecdote: “My username in my YouTube account is mrgrumpy88. Obviously no one knows who I am, but I still feel like I must answer when someone disagrees with me. What matters to me is proving my point, that’s it. And when the problem is serious my determination of using good ideas and accurate words is greater”.
Not all the students on campus post their opinions on newspapers, but the fact is that most students own a social network where they are urged to have a good use of language. Good grammar and spelling is still considered a symbol of the respect we deserve. The internet revolution is contributing without knowing to the easy access of information and also admonishing college students to review their writing.