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Queestioning the “miracle of text” in the TED speech “Texting is killing language.JK !!!”

2020-10-14 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

     下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文--Queestioning the miracle of text in the TED speech Texting is killing language.JK !!!,文章讲如今,文本语言更新迅速。眨眼之间,你就迷失了方向,无法跟上朋友短信里的斜线这样的词句,也不熟悉原本熟悉的表达方式,比如LOL,因为它们被赋予了全新的含义。现代社会担心的是,“短信会导致美国年轻人乃至当今世界的严重读写能力,或者至少是写作能力的下降。

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These days text languages update rapidly. In a blink of eyes you are lost behind and find it impossible to follow the particles,like slash, in your friends text or become stranger to originally familiar expression, say LOL because they are endowed with completely new meanings. Modern concern is that “texting spells the decline and fall of any kind of serious literacy, or at least writing ability, among young people in the United States and now the whole world today”.

 

The linguist John McWhorter in his speech on TED in April 2013 contends that texting is a miraculous thing and an emergent complexity. He starts his argument by implying writing is a far more latter creation than speech, which is the more natural choice when we try to express ourselves unmoniterdly . He points out that the structured and organized way of writing doesnt apply to our daily conversation. He employs the example of LOL and slash to support his idea that texting, as a new language, comes with a new structure. Near the end of his speech McWhorter states that concerns for young peoples poor literacy can date back to 63 A.D. and nothing serious really had happened.

Although McWhorter uses vivid linguistic phenomena and rich references to illustrate his contention, his argument often lacks a chain of logic and he tends to base his ideas on special cases. Reluctant deductions and biased illustration are seen everywhere. Sometimes the examples and argument he offers do not serve appropriately when explaining his points. All in all, McWhorters conclusion that texting language is miraculous and should not be blamed for the decline of literacy is ill-based, ill-reasoned and abruptly drawn. Thats to say McWhorter fails in successfully employing the rhetorical devices of logos, which is fatal considering the intellectual level of the TED audience. Despite of his poor logic, I find his resort to pathos and ethos relatively effective in that he always manages to win his audiences trust or empathy by some elaborated tricks like a little of humor.

 

McWhorter strarts by introducing a common belief --“The idea is that texting spells the decline and fall of any kind of serious literacy, or at least writing ability, among young people in the United States and now the whole world today. ”  As a matter of fact,I dont think there is such a unified and certain conclusion that texting is compromising writing and spelling abilities among teenagers, so I find it extremely inappropriate to quote such an invalid statement and offend it in order to prove his point.  In serious writings we must make sure that all our quotations are accurate and valid because distorting other peoples ideas or making fool of the common sense of the masses is a symbol if disrespect and irresponsibility. So here McWhorter does a bad job in respect of logos.

 

In his core sentence “texting is a miraculous thing, not just energetic, but a miraculous thing, a kind of emergent complexity that we're seeing happening right now”. McWhorter weakens his credibility by making an ambiguous definition of texting. Instead of giving a precise, misunderstanding-free concept of texting, he tell his readers that texting is “a kind of emergent complexity”. Can any body tell clearly ,with the provided context , what is a complexity? When a speaker use an indefinite word in his core sentence, it leaves us wondering--what is he trying to demonstrate? What does he want to prove? Is he evading an assertive statement because of a lack of confidence? This would undoubtedly cause a diminution of his credibility among the audiences, so the audiences started to suspect everything he was going to say later. Again, a failing grade for McWhorter for his performance in logos.

 

McWhorter succeeds in instilling in the audiences the conclusion that writing is a much smaller brother of speech and is not resorted to in daily chatting. However, his metaphor that” if humanity had existed for 24 hours, then writing only came along at about 11:07 p.m.” comes from traditional estimates which is, frankly speaking, no difference to it is said and thus lacks authority and authenticity.

However I think it can also be interpreted as a tricky employment of pathos. In a relatively academic speech, audiences get bored easily with the abstract and obscure terminology and theories, so they tend to grasp everything that they can understand. In this case, a vivid metaphor will easily catch their attention and win their trust.

 

McWhorter quotes a passage from Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" to prove that ordinary people do not talk that way. But I believe the passage he selected is not representative for it is too long. In other words, he intentionally selects a special case to prove his point. Of course, from another perspective, he did a perfect job of resorting to pathos and ethos by giving a biased example to mislead the audiences. Furthermore, even if we take the length into consideration, the sentence itself is not so complex and obscure so there is no rationality in jumping to the conclusion that people seldom talk that way.

 

 

Notice that McWhorter formerly said”Now don't get me wrong, writing has certain advantages. When you write, because it's a conscious process, because you can look ackwards, you can do things with language that are much less likely if you're just talking.”  Now it seems that he says all of these out of hypocrisy in an attempt to be objective ,yet end up pretentious. However its also a good example of ethos. When you defend the ground of opinions against you, you make an unbiased, objective impression on you audience. But remember, your compromise can only be made in unimportant, vague areas.

In an example he says that “in a distant era now, it was common when one gave a speech to basically talk like writing. So I mean the kind of speech that you see someone giving in an old movie where they clear their throat, and they go, "Ahem, ladies and gentlemen," and then they speak in a certain way which has nothing to do with casual speech.” Its safe to say that the former part of the quotation is of no problem. But when he abruptly jumps to the conclusion that the talking pattern he imitated has nothing to do with casual speech, audiences must have found it hard to accept. A formal tone is common in life, whether its a humorous imitation or a serious instruction from the superior. So I find no rationality behind the conclusion that that a way of talking can be deemed to have nothing to do with casual speech just because it comes with a certain degree of solemnity. Again McWhorter made the serious mistake of drawing biased conclusion in favor of his main points. But once again,excellent pathos and ethos for his imitation evokes the memory of the audiences and captures their sympathy.  

And even if his conclusion that texting is not writing at all is somewhat proved, it is still far-fetched to his final goal of testifying to the innocence of texting in respect of compromising writing ability. Since obviously, the fact that texting is not writing doesnt constitute a strong evidence that texting doesnt hurt writing. But there is no denying that ordinary people buy the argument that since its not writing at all, you cant blame it to have poor writing structure. We must acknowledge that its a classic case of wielding the rhetorical device of ethos to serve ones purpose.

McWhorter then tries to handle the blame that text languages are ill-structured and grammatically wrong. He defends that in a new kind of language, there is a new structure coming up and believes his  examples of LOLand slash testify to a new pattern of language.

But a second thought about that will reveal the irrelevance lying in it.

As McWhorter states,  LOL and slash are pragmatic particles in linguistics just like yo in young African Americans. So we naturally come to the suspicion of whether or not a particle can explain the loss of structure in texting. Are the examples and the conclusion closely relevant? If the answer is no, we again have to doubt the soundness of his arguments. Sadly McWhorter continue to go south in the battlefield of logos, LOL.

In the closing part of his speech, McWhorter quotes from five people concerning about the literacy of their contemporary youngsters respectively from 1956, 1917, 1871, 1841 and 63A.D. He then goes on to claim that these concerns are not scarcely seen since ancient times so we dont have to worry about them. Here I have a good reason to believe that McWhorter deliberately conceals the different backgrounds of the quotations above. Take two of them for example: The first is from this person in 1956 . Who was he? Without a given context, an expression can be interpreted in totally different ways. So lets say this one is meaningless.

The third one is from the president of Harvard. However, as you may realize- how can the requirement for Harvard students be compared with those of the masses? I believe the inelegance of expression in writing of Harvard students is an untouched area for most of their contemporaries. But by intentionally confusing the requirement to Harvard students and the requirement to ordinary students, McWhorter wins credibility using ethos once more.

Its also noteworthy that McWhorter describes the five quotations in a strongly biased, mockery tone. More than once he implies that such complaints are outdated or overreacting, evidenced by “this is when texting doesn't exist, ’I Love Lucy’ is still on the air.”and  “because the people on ‘ downton Abbey’ are articulate”and “there's this poor man who doesn't like the way people are speaking Latin. As it happens, he was writing about what had become French.” I believe its more subjective that the speaker only display the truth without bias and let the audiences decide their authenticity. However, when he appeal to the emotion of the audiences in a humorous way, the superman of pathos saves the world for the last time in his speech.

It is brave to defend the justification of the texting language. However McWhorter doesnt support his main argument with sound examples as well as convincing logic and jump to easy conclusion abruptly, leaving the audiences with suspicion and doubts. Notwithstanding his poor performance in employing logos, McWhorter does a good job in his resort to pathos by appealing to the audiences emotions. Satisfactory results are also seen in ethos when McWhorter uses vivid examples and biased reasoning.  

 

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