Exploring the Use of Media and Language in Today’s Society
The English language has massively changed in the media over the last few decades. This has a lot to do with new variations on word and acronyms posted via Facebook, Twitter, Text messaging and many other micro blogs.
When television, print and radio were the mass communication, words were not as widely evolved as they are in today’s society. Even as they did evolve, it would have taken far longer. It is remarkable how the flexibility of English in moulding and remoulding itself to every format of communication is.
We have also brought foreign language into our every day use of words. Words such as ‘comprende’ (do you understand?) and ‘capiche’ (same meaning).
This is used for many reasons, for example, putting your point across and emphasizing that point.
I have compared two forms of media printed for the public eye. These are ‘Heat’ magazine and ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspaper.
Heat magazine is clearly aimed at teenagers and young adults. The use of language is shortened and involves a lot of slang to make it an ‘easy read.’ Words such as; ‘ Aww’ ‘Wag’ ‘J-Lo’ and ‘Fab’ are perceived as ‘cool.’ These type of words encourage already influenced young people (especially teenagers in education) to buy these ‘sorts of magazine’ just so they know what words they ‘should’ be using. Even in the media, people come across peer pressure in what words to use without even realising it, more often than not. Once you are gripped into using this sort of language into everyday use, it can then be eye catching and then can relate to this type of language then be attracted to these magazines. It’s a devious media cycle!
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Heat makes good usage of words such as, ‘real’ ‘hating’ ‘unseen’ ‘naked’ ‘stars’ ‘full’ ‘exclusive’ and ‘untold.’ These are all capitalized on the front cover. They are bold, sometimes have a different font, different sizes, followed with an exclamation mark to emphasize the exaggerated story. It is like the writer’s equivalent to putting an outfit on a mannequin!
All magazines like Heat add pictures to their text. This helps to visually draw you in. Usually the pictures and names highlighted are of celebrities popularly known to this age category. The majority of the text is based on one’s opinion and has very little factual evidence to back up what they’re saying. Mostly they say ‘our source tells us…’ and do not always name who their sauce is and so it leads into thinking it could be anyone with an opinion on the matter. All of what is told in these types of printed media is to get adrenaline pumping to give an exciting experience so ensure continuation of magazine sales.
One thing worth mentioning is how much of what is written in magazines relates to sex and relationships. Almost all of these sorts of media are based on sexual relations in one way or another. This is a lot to do with how our brain functions. It desires to be attracted, even subconsciously to things regarding sex.
‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspaper includes a lower quantity of text about sex. It puts an emphasis on words with bold writing, different fonts, coloured titles and different sized texts and to grab the reader’s attention just like Heat does.
This newspaper however, is targeting people who are older and more mature. Generally it is for the stereotype of a middle-aged ‘working class’ citizen with a career, family, mortgage, bills and taxes. For these readers there are certain changes in the style of language. It is kept clearly displayed and is easy to follow the writing. There is little, if not any slang used. There is a far wider vocabulary explored. The writing is neatly organized into columns. There is a serious tone, as it would appear inappropriate for the topics discussed if it had too much humour involved. They talk about pressing matters such as legality, parliament and the royalty. A lot of advertisement is on saving financially (car insurance, internet, phone bills etc) where as in magazines such as Heat, they advertise things to do with fassion.
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Like Heat, The daily Telegraph use celebrities as a subject they tend to be celebrities better known from years ago rather than newly introduced celebrities. They also talk about highly respected people in power.
They have pointed out more mature films to watch and have a section on sports. There’s a smaller newspaper inside dedicated to people who enjoy reading about gardening. There are adverts on cooking. All these topics are what most mature adults come will come across in everyday life.
After researching the use of media and the impact is has on society today, it raises the question; Where will the media take us tomorrow?
Kimberly Lee Forbes