From Russian Into Russian. Internet Communication Aspects - Part 1

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Language is constantly changing, and the Internet and social media platforms change it even more rapidly. Emoji, smileys, missing punctuation marks have become a conventional and fast way to get across your thoughts and mood to the person you are communicating with. But are they always appropriate? How has the Internet changed our language, and are there any internet communication standards?

Traditionally, verbal communication used to be divided into spoken and written communication, but the advent of the Internet and messengers has rendered this clear classification obsolete. Linguists have even introduced a new term, "oral-written communication." On the one hand, we formally use graphic symbols for communication. On the other hand, we use language in fast and spontaneous dialogues, which can often be informal and hasty. Due to this, Internet language takes plenty of oral communication features or makes play with its peculiarities in a certain way.

As traditional written communication cannot show gestures, facial expressions, and intonation, Internet language has developed some replacing tools. For example, emoji pictures are intended to convey the speaker’s emotions. In real oral communication, this function is performed by intonation, facial expressions, and gestures, but the written text has very few traditional tools to convey emotions—that's what accounts for the popularity of emoji.

However, sometimes they can also cause some problems. For example, what do palms clung together mean? Gratitude, kind request, prayer, applause, the high five?

You should use such ambiguous emoji carefully, making sure that their meaning can be discernible from the context.

To show facial expressions and intonation in written communication somehow, people not only introduce new communication tools but also reinterpret the old ones.

Thus, capital letters have come into sharp focus. The capitalized WORD is now used to indicate shouting, a raised voice. For this reason, people even jokingly say, "Don't yell at me with your caps." However, sometimes Caps Lock is just used to highlight the most important words or text heading, but even this irritates or hurts many people because capital letters still have a very aggressive connotation.

In one of his interviews, linguist Maxim Krongauz says that smileys have become an essential component of communication. Smileys usually mark the end of a sentence. Even more, they have become so common that their absence seems alarming, especially for people under 30. If they do not see a smiley at the end of the sentence, they think that their correspondent is taking offense at them. It means that a smiley, and not its absence, is a symbol of neutrality.

The functions of a period have also changed. This neutral symbol that must be used to mark the end of most sentences has gained a bad reputation in Internet dialogues as a sign of coldness and offense for many people.

The Internet has been developing its system of symbols replacing gestures and facial expressions. You may ignore it and write the way you are used to, but then you have to be ready to be misunderstood by around half of the people you are communicating with. After all, we need language to communicate, not to follow its rules. You have to decide what is more important to you: to meet the standard that does not take into account the context specificity or to be understood.

The function of a period in the Russian-language Internet dialogues has been actually taken up by a shortened smiley that looks like ).

It is sometimes duplicated twice or three times and looks like ))). It has become a symbol of a neutral friendly message that does not even need to be cheerful and hilarious.

Interestingly, shortened smileys have become a distinctive feature of Russian-language dialogues. You should not use parentheses as smileys in your correspondence with foreigners as they often even do not understand what you mean.

Facebook and Instagram posts show another peculiarity—there is no period at the end of the paragraph. What's interesting is that everything is OK with periods in the sentences from the middle of the paragraph—it is the end of the paragraph where a period is not used

That's how it looks like.

Apparently, this must emphasize sincerity, a flow of thoughts, and such unfinished paragraph makes us go on reading. Such text presentation with its transition from paragraph to paragraph even resembles poetry with its transition from line to line.

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