Talking to Different Types of People Language is a system for encoding and decoding information. People do not only have to speak verbally to communicate with one another, but they can express themselves through body language. As we age, we learn how to use language to fit the situation. There are several interesting questions people are curious to know about language: -In what ways do we change the way we speak to fit a situation? -What is and is not difficult about these changes? -Are we conscious of it? -Are we all equally good at it? - Korean Dialect • “Konglish” is the inclusion of English words in a Korean sentence, or the use of Korean words in an English sentence. This form is more commonly seen in the second generation Korean-American culture where “loan words” are used to fill the gap of a limited Korean vocabulary. • Examples: “Unni what are you doing?”/ “Ji-keum mo hae?, lets eat dinner together tonight.” Slangs • Slangs are informal words and expressions that some people use to communicate with one another. The term “Slangs” is a particular vocabulary or phraseology, typically used by social groups and usually consisting of new words or existing words used in novel ways. Some of the slangs teenagers or young adults use when they communicate through text messages are: • Lol- (laugh out loud) • Bbl-(be back later) • iight-(alright) • Brb-(be right back) • - "Where are you at?" to "Where you at?" – • - "I be chillin" Observation: Informal Vs. Formal Sister Mother • • • • • When talking to my sister I use slangs and I talk to her like how I would speak to my friends. When she speaks to me she uses both the informal and formal language. For example, she calls me (unni) which is a word that is used in Korean to show respect to an older (female). She does not have to use this formal word when she speaks to me because she grew up surrounded by the AmericanCulture. My sister uses formal language as well when she speaks to me such as, OMG, LOL, thanks, yeah, but even Shut Up when she’s angry with me. When we get into arguments there are times when cursing is involved, or we use sarcasm to push our buttons further. • • • When speaking to my mother I use formal language, respect and words that I wouldn’t normally use when I’m talking to my sister or my friends . Talking to my mother using a formal language makes her feel comfortable. I would never use sarcasm towards my mother nor talk back to her. I would ask her questions in a formal way such as, “May I please?” “Thank You”.. instead of saying “thanks”. Also, I would reply to her questions in a “formal manner” saying the word, “yes” instead of word “yeah”. Friends Vs. Teachers Friends • • • I have a diversity of friends. When I talk to my Caucasian friends I seem to talk more clear and proper than when I’m talking with my Hispanic friends. With my Hispanic or African-American friends I use slang terms, and many times my “New York” accent will appear as I have conversation with them. When talking to my friends I feel more comfortable than talking to my mother or a teacher. I can make personal jokes with my friends that teachers and parents would find inappropriate. I talk about more personal things in life to my friends than to my sister, mother or professors. Teachers • • • • • When I speak with my teachers I use the same rules that I use to speak with my mother and seniors. I do not curse or talk back with my professors. (Obviously that’s common sense I don’t want to get a F ) I use proper tone, and talk to them with respect. For example, when I am addressing to a professor, I would say, “Hello Professor …” I would never address to him/her or talk to him/her like to my friends. In other words, I would never say, “Hey Jenny…what’s up?” When talking to teachers I talk to them about my goals or class work. I use direct eye contact when talking to a teacher or head nodding to let the teacher know I’m comprehending what he or she is saying. My students at 4-322 Language Differences There is a variety of different languages throughout the world. Most importantly, there are many ways in which people change the way they speak to fit daily life situations, although not everyone is conscious of the way they change their speaking. Chomsky’s Theory Humans are born with a special biological brain mechanism, called Language Acquisition Device. The ability to learn language is inborn. This theory allows me to reflect upon my son who is is 2 years old and hasn’t started speaking yet. As a newborn and as most babies, he used to cry when he was in need of food/diaper change…etc. We nurture language by reading books and exposure of phonics to allow development of language. 1st Form of Language Body Language: Body Language is used by many of us throughout the day. We can show love, anger and many other emotions through the use of body language. Here we see a picture of a young girl. By her facial expressions we can assume that she is upset. Facial Expression is used here, and that is a form of Body Language. 2nd Form of Language Sign Language: As I observed two people communicating, I notice the use of official sign language. They used their hands to form letters, sentences and communicate due to their inability to communicate orally. 3rd Form of Language Oral Expression: Oral Expression is used by most of the people on a daily basis. We use oral expression when communicating over the phone/ in person. People change the way they speak in order to fit a situation. If one is at work, he/she may speak with a more professional manner than the way he/she would speak to a friend. It is obvious during a greeting that one would say: Hey, what’s up? (To a friend) Good morning, how are you? (In the work field) How r u? / What u up 2? / LOL! (Text message) As Ellen and Polly have already explained in the beginning, we speak in different ways according to the person we are talking to. I observed my brother Kelvin, who is 22 years old, and my sister Argelis, who is 19 years old. I noticed that when they speak to each other, they use informal words like if they were friends. I also think it’s because they are almost the same age. For example, my sister calls my brother “Yo…give me this, yo…give me that, yo…” and vice versa. On the other hand, my siblings don’t dare to speak in that way to my parents because my mother considers that form of language very disrespectful. Therefore, they speak very formally in front of my parents. For example, they would say, “Mami, or Papi may we have this…?”. I believe my sister and my brother are conscious of the way they speak to each other and, on the other hand, they are aware of the fact that they have to modify their language when speaking to my parents. My first observation was my boyfriend Tone. Tone and I have been together for 7 years and ever since we met I notice he changed his voice when he would talk to specific people. • When he speaks to his friends, he tends to use more slang and his voice becomes deeper, and he uses a lot of hand movement. He always seems to stand amongst his friends because he never sits. I ask him why he does this and he says that he can express himself better with a certain voice and body language. He says someone might not take him seriously if he is speaking about an important topic if he is sitting down. • When he speaks to his parents, the greeting is a little bit more casual but it is also respectful. His posture seems more upright, and his voice is very neutral. All his responses will be “yes” “thank you” “please” and “may I”. • When I hear him on the phone with someone from work, someone from my family, or someone older in his family, he speaks very professionally and mature. His voice is also very high pitched but shy at the same time. He also leaves the room because I know he is timid to speak in such a way around me or someone. • I have an 11 year old brother named Jaylon. He just started junior high school in September, so I know the pressures of trying to “be cool” or “fit in” among new people. I am around him as much as possible and I am always observing him. It amazes me how fast he has grown. He is a big Xbox360 fan. He uses Xbox live which is an internet based program. If a person lets say in California who is playing a game such as Halo, and my brother is playing the same game, they can communicate with each other while playing the game via headset microphone. Jaylon speaks with a lot of slangs and curses on the microphone because I don’t think the players know he is 11 years old, and I don’t think my brother knows I eavesdrop over him. I do have to scold him when I hear him curse because I know he would never speak like that to my father or his mother. • I am also interning in a 5th grade class in the Bushwick section on Brooklyn. The kids think because I am young that they can disrespect me by using foul language or using gestures because I am not their official teacher, but these are things that are inappropriate for not only a child, but someone in school so I will put them in their place as much as I can. On the contrary, when they are speaking to the teacher, some of them lack respect for her also. So when my mentor teacher calls the assistant principle to come in the classroom, the children sit in an upright position and answer all questions very formally. Even their pitch becomes very low and squeaky. I think these actions the children perform are also another way of “being cool” or to “intimidate” other students. • Observing these kids that are around the same age group, I definitely see how they change their voices. A lot of the boys seem to use their hands when talking as well, and seem to sit in a slouchy laid back posture. It is so funny seeing them pretending to be adults, but on the second hand I think that they should value being a kid. They do know how to distinguish the way they speak to different people with the formal and informal words. My group members presented a series of examples in which they observed how people change their way of speaking according to the situation they are in. However, I have a different type of observation that relates to my personal experience in the field of language. I am an International student coming from Europe. I have been living in New York City for approximately three years. I studied English as a second language in my country, yet only in High School. Thus, I learned most of this beautiful language once I arrived in the United States. I don’t use any slangs and expressions that my group members mentioned previously, though I hear people speaking and saying those phrases very often. The reason why I don’t talk in such a way, is because I don’t feel comfortable and totally at my ease. When I try to imitate Americans saying “Yo, whaaattss up?” or “See ya.” I think I sound funny. This is because I’ve learned English in school as a completely new language in terms of grammar, semantics and pragmatics. Consequently, when I speak to people, regardless of their age, job position, or entitlement, I verbally communicate to them in the same exact way without changing the way of speaking. Nevertheless, I do agree with the statement, “Language communicates much more than the words we use, and the ways we use words vary not only between people but based on who we are talking to”. In fact, although I live in a city where everything is written and spoken in English, which is not my native language, I do have a couple of examples that fit in the presentation of language differences. FIRST EXAMPLE I work in the Modern Languages Department of LaGuardia Community College as an Italian Tutor. I have three classes that I see every week. To my students I speak most of the time in Italian, so then they start getting the idea of the language. When I have to explain them something related to any grammar topics, I speak to them in a formal way trying to use the best English terms I have learned so far. Also, I try to be as much clear and precise as possible in a way that they can easily understand. On the other hand, I notice the way they speak to me. Some of my students are aware of the fact that I am the one standing at the board teaching, and therefore, bring me respect and demonstrate full interest towards the subject. They may say, “Good Morning Professor, how are you?” (of course this in Italian) Others talk to me informally without paying to much attention to they use of the language. One of my students once told me, “Hey Paola, you took attendance? I was late today, you know? Sorry”. (of course this student didn’t bother to say a word in Italian). I assume it all depends on the individual’s personality we are referring to because, though I might be much younger than some of my Italian students, they should still use a formal way of talking. ELI 101 ITALIAN ELI 102 ITALIAN SECOND EXAMPLE In the same place where I work as an Italian Tutor, there are other people who work with me. One of many colleagues, whose name is Salvatore, is as young as I am, and in fact, I talk to him like if he were one of my best friends. If I have to explain him something regarding our job, I would definitely use the informal way without doubting about it because this is the way we always communicated to each other. Not surprisingly, sometimes it may happen that the tone of our voice increases, especially when we are passing through a stressful or hard moment. We count on each other whenever we need help because we are “on the same boat”. We have the same exact tasks, and therefore, we always exchange opinions about the work we are doing. If I am tired, I would tell him, “Hey Salvatore, I need a coffee…do you want to step out for a minute?”. For the following pictures, I want you to pay attention to my facial expressions and my posture, though you don’t hear me talking. Posture and face expression represent an important factor in language. In fact, from these two photos you can easily tell that I feel very relaxed talking to my colleague. THIRD EXAMPLE On the other hand, I want to introduce another person from the Modern Languages Department whom I work with too. Angeles, who actually is my Supervisor, is a nice woman who sometimes observes me while I teach in the Lab. She is extremely kind and reliable, yet she makes me feel nervous when I have to talk to her. I start stuttering like if I had learned how to speak the day before, and my face turns as red as a tomato. Every time I have to ask her something related to my job, I blush and my heart begins to beat very fast. I don’t feel very comfortable because I am not able to show her how formal I can be. However, I believe she understands why I don’t feel so relaxed compared to my coworkers. I think it’s because I am conscious of the fact she has a higher position in the job circumstance and I feel very inferior. I hope that with time I would be able to get accustomed to speaking to different types of people in the same way without differentiating whether a person is similar to me or not. Take a look at the following pictures they took me and you can immediately see how agitated and nervous I was. Angeles, my supervisor. She was showing me the new employment handbook. This is a video that shows the way I normally speak to Angeles. In conclusion, we realized after doing our observations that Language is not just something that is spoken, but it is expressed in many more ways, such as sign language, body language, facial expression and color, vocal ranges, and text. We all adapt to different environments and communicate with each other in our special way. Whether we were born here and raised in a traditional American atmosphere, or have joined us from abroad and have not been trained to speak in slang or informally, language makes us unique. It allows us to express our feelings without even having to use our voices.