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Morphology, Phonology, Syntax, and Semantics in Social Media

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In this English essay, I will be researching and evaluating examples of phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. I will also be giving examples of modern English language today and how it affects gender using two types of social media platforms and how they have changed and developed the English language today.

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Phonology is how sounds work in language; we find different words that sound the same but with different letters. For example, the words ‘bat’ and ‘cat’ sound the same but have different starting letters. Another example of this is the word ‘meet’, when we change the ‘m’ to ‘n’ it becomes ‘neat’. Although these two words are spelt differently they still sound the same. Morphology is how words are structured; the way how words are broken down to add meaning, for example, the word ‘thoughtfulness’ can be broken down into three separate words, ‘thought’ and ‘full’, but ‘ness’ is an added adjective that refers to a quality or a condition. When it comes to syntax, it goes hand-in-hand with morphology as it is the arrangement of words and phrases.

Social network site Twitter has had a huge impact on the English language today. With it’s one hundred and forty character limit, we see a more creative approach to the English language. Using shortened versions of words and even converting words into numbers such as the number ‘4’ for the word ‘for’ or the number ‘2’ for the words ‘to’ and ‘too’, a tweet on Twitter could be ‘I’m going 2 the shops 4 some milk.’ This could also be an influence from when text messaging was first introduced and having to pay for each letter (Messieh, N. 2016). Replacing words with symbols to take up less space is also popular when using Twitter, replacing ‘and’ with ‘&’ or ‘at’ with ‘@’. For example, ‘see you @ school’. When it comes to gender, we see some difference in tweets. Justin Bieber has 90.5 million followers but doesn’t tweet often. When he does tweet, he is usually always grammatically correct, using capitals where they should be. “Great night. See you again tomorrow London” (Justin Bieber, 2016) is a good example of how he uses capitals correctly for ‘great’, ‘see’ and ‘London’. Ariana Grande uses Twitter daily. Although she doesn’t always use grammar properly, she tweets very lovingly towards her fans. “once I … haaaaave you …. i will… never let you, never let you … go” (Ariana Grande, 2016) with this tweet you can see that it is not grammatically correct, she has used ellipsis wrong as well as no capitals and more than one ‘A’. The only part of her tweet that is grammatically correct is her placement of a comma between ‘never let you go’. With these examples we can see the difference quite clearly, it could be suggested that males tweet more formally and professionally whereas females use this platform more creatively.

Another more recently social media platform is Snapchat, a photo messaging app that has less than 100 characters; we see a more creative approach to expressing a simple picture with words. Emojis and stickers can be used in snaps that could indicate someone’s mood without having to write anything. Emojis are used frequently in today’s language, informally on many social media platforms and text messaging; using them in an important business email is very informal. A simple emoji of a sick face can instantly tell a person that you are sick, or even a sun emoji to indicate that the weather is good or that you’re happy, this gives even the simplest small picture a much bigger meaning. But, with all this said, has text language and emojis made people lazy? Instead of typing out “LOL” we can send a laughing emoji and a person would understand that they are laughing or have found something funny. Has even text language become shortened because of emojis? With new words being developed and older words being abbreviated, the English language has become difficult for people to learn, including the older generation. (Thoughts, T. 2016.) On this note, women generally use emojis more often than men, this is mainly because women use facial expressions and body language to express themselves in a social environment, so typically using emojis could act as facial expressions and emotions through text. (Emoji and Gender 2016)

Idioms have always been a part of the English language, however, in today’s society, we have seen more idioms with sexual innuendos introduced. A more recent term “Netflix and Chill” has become popular with a different meaning to what some might think. Netflix itself is a movie and television subscription online, and ‘chill’ usually means that something is cold or cool. However ‘chill’ could also mean calm, or to hang out with friends; “Netflix and Chill”; this means ‘to hang out’, watch movies but with sexual innuendos laced with the term. Although this is a new term, sexual innuendos have been around for centuries, but with more humorous names such as ‘Dance The Paphian Jig’(1650) (Thorpe, J. 2016) English might be changing today but it has always been changing and growing with time. When Shakespeare was introduced he made a huge impact on the English language. Not only did he create words we still use today but also phrases such as ‘where your heart on your sleeve’ and ‘all of a sudden’, some may say that the English language in owed to Shakespeare. When it comes to gender, we know that women were not allowed to act in his plays; female characters were played by young boys because their voices hadn’t fully developed yet. In the Elizabethan era, it was illegal for women to act, as it was seen as a waste of time and they were looked at similar to porn stars in the modern day. (Help, H. and Juliet, R. 2017) A woman’s place was indoors, in the kitchen and raising the children. Over another couple of hundred years later the English language has borrowed from America which then leads to global language or text speak. Linking back to social media, even in social environments people are seen speaking in a text, saying “FYI” instead of “for your information”, giving the expression that the English language has become lazy.

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In conclusion, social media has had a huge impact on the English language but not necessarily in a bad way, social media has helped to change with society, still practising old English but making it more understandable for the newer generation. When it comes to gender English, this essay has shown that males tend to be more professional and formal when writing even on social media platforms whereas females are more emotional and express themselves creatively. Idioms have been around for a long time and are a part of the English language, in years to come there will be even more humorous ways to create sexual innuendos. The English language has a wide history with it and there will be many more historical events to come along with it as society changes.

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Morphology, Phonology, Syntax, and Semantics in Social Media. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 27, 2023, from
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