During tuesday’s class we discussed what the word “friend” has come to mean and if it is a good development of the word. Most of the class argued that social media and electronics have created a bad development on the meaning of “friend”. This is because people on social media that are considered friends could be considered strangers in real life and facebook has turned the word friend into a transitive verb. Instead of saying that you made a friend at school today, one can say that they friended someone on facebook. This verb makes the word seem less intimate than it used to be. Nadia made a valid point in class when she stated that texting someone does not mean that they are close because texting allows people to appear less awkward because they have more time to react to writing. In person conversations with that same person could be very uncomfortable and awkward because these people are not as close and familiar with each other than they expected. This is when Proffesor Lebdusca referenced this point to be related to Pinker’s essay about “linguistic dancing”.
After discussing what social media and the new idea of friend has done to the meaning of the word “friend”, we discussed
what a friend truly is. We came up with that friends support each other and are caring, selfless and comfortable towards the other person. At this point, Proffessor Lebdusca then asked if friends make sacfrices for eachother, and mostly everyone agreed and shared stories. For example Nytasha shared how she would go on errands for her friend even though she did not want to . This shows how much the other person cares for the other because they are willing to do things that they do not want to do and be flexible. Aly countered this view at the end of class right before we left when she shared that a true friend would not mind that the other person does not feel comfortable with doing something because they should be accepting of the other person.
In class on Thursday we discussed what is needed in an essay in order for it to be effective. We as a class decided that an effective essay must have a clear thesis. A clear thesis will help make the argument precise and more persuarsive because the essay will be able to relate back to the thesis at any time. The thesis is what starts the essay off and becomes the underlying meaning throughout it as well. If it is not clear then the writer will have a hard time being able to prove his point. The next important part of an essay that I said needed to have is strong supporting evidence. Evidence can come from many sources such as from other books, data, experiences, personal examples and hypothetical examples. I strongly believe that evidence is what makes the argument become more realistic because it gives support to the claim by reassuring the reader that the claim is valid through proof. The evidence that I used in my last essay was from my own personal experiences. Choosing evidence can be tricky because sometimes evidence may not support the argument correctly and it may contradict what someone is trying to prove. This happened to me in my first two drafts of the second essay in which I used evidence that was contradicting the point that I was trying to prove and that made my argument and stance unclear. Because my evidence made my argument unclear, I was not able to effectively argue my point.
Texting has caused many debates whether or not it is useful or presents conflicts between individuals. I have heard that it serves as a distraction for people because it makes it easy to talk to people which can tempt people to text during inappropriate times. Texting while driving and while in a professional meeting is considered inappropriate. I think that this argument is true because people have become very distracted by their phones. I have also heard that texting has decreased our ability to want to and be able to talk and have a face to face conversation because people feel more comfortable hiding behind their phones. I agree with this argument as well because I have noticed even with my self that I would prefer to text someone rather than confront them face to face. I do think that it is destroying the English language because people change words to make it easier to type and the meaning behind texts can be hard to pick out because there are no facial expressions, tone of voice and actions that may help communication. I do not know students who use texting inappropriately how ever I have heard stories about some.
The linguistic evils of texting would be that it changes
how people type and use the English language, therefore the language will change and become harder for people to go back to normal English when in everyday life.
Some other reasons that Crystal refers to that lead to poor writing are learning disabilities such dyslexia and other technologies before texting.
The curious ambivalence is that society contradicts itself with technology because people complain about it ruining literacy when instead of trying to get rid of it, our society creates newer technology which will supposedly aid literacy and invent new ways of learning and aiding it.
Crystal rebuts the argument that children cannot keep diaries anymore by stating that online blogs which can be viewed as diaries have become very popular in today’s society.
Children must learn the real English language which is deemed appropriate by society in professional situations such as jobs and school.
Crystal argues that texting is another language because like other forms of language, it has a specific format and diction and its use has become popular therefore it has become a new form of language.
Texting may cause children to think in “short bursts” therefore children may have trouble being able to connect bigger ideas to each other and seeing the bigger picture.
Texting for students can help them communicate with out stress and help them find their own voice while it also serves as a literary outlet for them. The actual problems of texting may be that children become use to texting and typing in a certain way that they keep this writing in everything that they do.
Giridharadas project in her essay is to emphasize how words and the meaning of words change with society. The two words that she focuses on the most in the essay are “fun” and “pleasure”. He believes that these words meanings have changed because society has become more interested in doing more activities rather than sitting back and enjoying doing nothing. Compared to the past, America has now become known for always having to be entertained, whether it is from video games, putting on shows or doing recreational games, Americans feel that they must be doing something in order to stay entertained. When I use the words pleasure and fun, I use them to express that something was pleasing to me. The difference in pleasure and fun for me is similar to Giriharadas’s view which is that pleasure has a deeper and more intimate meaning where as fun could be anything such as a basketball game to listening to music with friends. A pleasurable experience for me would be to get a relaxing massage at the spa with my friends because it is a relaxing feeling and we are doing nothing except enjoying the peacefulness. Something fun would be a scavenger hunt with my basketball team because we are all being entertained by a simple game and we are enjoying the mindless company of each other. Girihadas uses newspaper articles and the movie, Eat Pray Love in order to emphasize the different meanings between “fun” and “pleasurable”. He tries to prove that fun derives from some kind of mindless activity that does not involve much thought compared to pleasure which is often times felt and involves deeper thinking. In his essay, Girihadas points out that while observing articles in news papers, “fun” and “achievement” beat “pleasure” and “excellence”. Giridgaradas uses a database of newspapers in order to search for the use of words from 1810 to the 2000s, this help him back up his argument that words change with the society because he saw a correlation between words that when one increased, its alike word decreased.
Lost in Translation
In Wellner’s essay she emphasizes how technology today such as emails and text messaging ruins how people interact with each other because the true meaning behind the message may be lost due to interpretation. Wellner uses research and facts from CEOs of companies and from people who study interactions with emails and text messaging. This helps add to her argument because it shows there are research and facts behind this idea. I think that it is better to meet someone face to face because like Wellner finds, it is easier to interact and interpret meaning behind conversation based upon body language and tone of voice. It somewhat depends on what you have to say, for example Wellner says that texts should just be used to clarify quick facts, I think that texts could be helpful for clarifying when to meet with someone. However they would not be helpful when arguing with someone. The deciding factor for me would be whether or not feelings could be hurt and if the texts involve opinions. The advantage of emailing is hiding behind words, because it gives you a sense of security to say whatever you want to say indirectly while avoiding confrontation. Emailing could also lead to a wrong interpretation which could offend someone. Face to face allows people to correctly read each other how ever it may be more awkward than a text. When Wellner quotes Sara Roberts as saying “People hide behind email.” she means that it is very easy to send a message to someone because they are able to type something easier than saying it to that person directly. This is a habit that serves as a safety net for many people who are afraid to speak their mind verbally. I agree with the statistic that 7% of the meaning comes from the words in a message, but also disagree because sometimes people can use words that have a more negative connotation in order to present their mood. Wellner uses an example from an actual company about how text messages often create and cause needless conflict because often times people are able to pick fights and handle them out of proportions because they are not as careful with what they type rather than what they would actually say out loud.
What Does “Friend” Mean Now?
In Kahn’s essay he portrays how the word “friend” is now used in a looser manner due to social networking and how children are raised. His examples in his essay come from people with a variety of ages. This helps him define how people have different opinions on what the word “friend” truly means. When I refer to someone as my friend, I consider them to be close to me and that I am comfortable with them. I do use the word friend differently in varying situations because based upon the person I am referring to as a friend, if I am familiar with that person, I could just call them an acquaintance or a close friend. Kahn’s thesis is found in the third paragraph when he states that term “friend” constantly changes. Turkle from MIT believes that social media altered the DNA of the word because it is taking lightly on social media due to the fact that anyone can friend someone on social media with out even having to directly interact with one another. 150 stable relationships is the number that Dunbar believes that a person can keep in their life time. This is ironic to Kahn because on social media a person can have as many friends as they want, which changes the meaning of “friend” and makes it less intimate of a word.
Would you like to come back to my place for some desert? If someone had asked me this question I would probably ask what kind of desert, not knowing that the underlying meaning of this question was sexual. Why are people purposely vague about what they truly mean? In Steven Pinker’s essay, “Words Don’t Mean What They Mean”, he uses many examples from different forms of media in order to prove that people play with their word choice to keep a relationship. This “linguistic dance” is common in sexual relationships as Pinker explains because partners are often afraid to offend one another by either being too bold or vague with suggestions. I agree with Pinker’s argument that people purposely choose words that have a double meaning, for them to not seem forceful or offensive. Relationships can be different based upon how comfortable each person is with each other. I believe that this “linguistic dance” fades as the relationship grows and people become more familiar with each other and that this is similar with friendships as well.
From watching couples that are dating, just friends or married, there is a linguistic difference with how they speak to one another. The dance depends on how long a relationship has been and how comfortable the people in the relationship are with each other. People use the dance that Pinker references in order to shield the true meanings just in case the other person would judge them for it. This is not the case for people in longer relationships that are closer to each other because they know that the other person loves them and that they would not be ridiculed for a slip in wording. My parents have been married for seventeen years and during those seventeen years, they grew comfortable with each other. I would almost say they are too comfortable with each other because they do not use filters when they converse and they are not afraid to argue and say what they truly mean out loud. This is due to the feeling of acceptance that they both have from one another and they both understand that the other one loves them therefore they would not be judged for what they say amongst themselves. They may make fun of one another, but it is only because of how much they love each other.
Close friendships are similar to marriages due to the commitment and time that best friends give to each other. I have observed what a relationship with a best friend is like and I have experienced it as well. Like long lasting relationship partners, best friends are able to tell each other anything and not be afraid of judgment because they both know that the other accepts and loves them for who they are. Joseph P. Kahn, a journalist for the Boston Globe wrote his essay “What Does ‘Friend’ Mean Now?” about how social media has affected our perception on what the word “friend” means. He believes that friend is starting to be used looser due to social media and that people are having difficulties seeing the difference between an acquaintance and a real friend. He states that, “As the meaning of ‘friend’ gets stretched and changed, many admit to making conscious decisions about who fits the definition who does not and why”(Kahn 381). The definition of a true friend would be someone that a person could tell anything to and who is always there for them. True friends are the people that laugh with you and not at you. Therefore they are always easy to joke with, and they should understand each other’s sense of humor so they know that the other person is not being offensive. They do not have to reword their phrases and linguistically dance around each other because they are comfortable with one another and know what is offensive to the other person and what is not. In the same way that married couples and longer lasting couples fight with each other, true friends argue in the same way. From observing my parents fight and say every thing that they mean to say, I have noticed that my fights with my best friend are along the same path. Yes we may both be mad at each other, but we know that we say during an argument is only to get things off our mind about the other person. In the end, like my parents, my best friend and I always resolve our conflict and we never stay mad at the other person because we love each other too much and value our friendship just like my parents value their marriage.
“As the meaning of ‘friend’ gets stretched and changed, many admit to making conscious decisions about who fits the definition who does not and why”
Couples in the beginning of their relationship or even people who want to spark a relationship between each other linguistically dodge phrases that may harm or end their start of the relationship. Pinker refers to in the tv series, Seinfeld that this indirectness can often times become too vague for one to understand, for instance, when George takes the woman’s invitation for “coffee” literally, and he misunderstood the underlying question of having sex (114). Terms such as wanting coffee are used in a nuance of terms such as the one, “Netflix and chill” which is code for wanting to hook up with another person. Early couples avoid directness for many reasons, such as not wanting to sound bossy or too demanding and avoiding embarrassment and judgment. The same can be said for early friends or even “friends” online that are more acquaintances. Because these people are not familiar with each other, they do not know how to converse with out being afraid of offending the other person or coming off the wrong way. In Kahn’s essay about the word “friend” he quotes a sociologist, Sherry Turkle who states that social networking “gives the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy”(380). Social media allows people to linguistically dance around each other because they have time to think about what they are going to say which allows them to be cautious and hide who they truly are based upon what they type. These relationships are not real friendsips, because they have to linguistically dance around each other due to how unfamiliar they are with one another.
Women in early relationships linguistically dance more than men sometimes due to older gender norms that even though they are out dated, still hold back women from speaking up in their relationship. Women often times feel uncomfortable with being too direct and assertive in their relationship because they do not feel like it is their place to boss men around. Women are often afraid to make the first move because in the past, it was the men that needed to court the women. When I was in middle school, I helped out my friend who had a crush on a boy. She was texting him one day, and I was helping her text what to say because she was afraid to tell the boy that she liked him and that she wanted to go out. We spent a lot of time “linguistically” dancing because we were trying to hint at her liking him while also get him to make the first move. We were waiting for the boy to ask her out because even though it is the twenty first century and women can ask men out, we were afraid that he would not be into her if she asked him out first. This could be because she did not want to seem desperate or make her crush obvious.
Being in a friendship and relationship is quite similar. They both involve sharing a bond between one another and becoming almost way too comfortable with each other. One of the main signs that your relationship and friendship is real is when both people are able to say anything to each other. The lack of filter proves how comfortable the couple is and that they have reached a point in their friendship and or relationship where both of them accept everything about one another. Pinker questions why people cannot be direct towards each other and that is due to comfort levels with in individuals, and Kahn hints towards real friends having to share a special connection. This connection can relate to Steven Pinker’s idea of being direct towards each other. Being direct towards each other depends on how comfortable the people are in the relationship and not having to “linguistically dance” while talking to one another proves who a true friend is and what a real relationship is.
The Baggage of Frienship- Do people really know what it is?
What is the true meaning of the word “Friend”?
A friend is someone who is caring, comforting, accepting and generous to another person. There are many definitions and meanings for the word friend and that is due to how people are raised and how society has affected the word. In Joseph P Kahn’s essay “What Does “Friend” Mean Now?”, he describes how “friends are not what they used to be”(Kahn 379). He believes that word friend has become a looser term which I agree with as well because of social media and how people are being raised today. In Kahn’s essay he describes how people are raised in their earlier years to consider their classmates as friends. This changes the word friend because it makes the word seem less exclusive and distorts the meaning which makes people who should really be considered acquaintances appear as friends to those who do not know better. The consequence for growing up and considering acquaintances as friends is that these people may not know what a true friend is and how to make them. Because these people do not understand true friendship and what makes someone their real friend, they are not able to distinguish between a true friend and someone who they “friended” on facebook.
The word friend is starting to be used looser than it was in the past due to social media and how people are raised. There is a crucial difference between being someone’s friend in everyday life versus being someone’s friend on facebook. Kahn quotes a Boston University student who describes how he differentiates between social media friends and real friends by saying, “… in college you can’t bring all your friends along. So that narrows it down to two or three”(380). Kahn uses a student as a source in his essay in order to get an opinion from a younger generation. The simple analogy that the BU student uses in Kahn’s essay makes it clearer to see that there is a difference between knowing someone and being their friend because someone would not take another person who they are not close with to a party. In college I have also noticed that I have acquaintances and friends. The difference between the two is simple; my friends are the people that I would go to and ask for help or advice and the acquaintances are the people who I will talk to around campus and see randomly throughout my day. Kahn quotes an MIT sociologist who states that “Friendship is about letting something happen between two people that’s surprising and new”(380). Turkle believes that people need to share a physical bond that is surprising and new in order to have a friendship. This bond allows the people to become closer which sparks a friendship. Therefore when I use the word “friend” I make sure that it is not used lightly and that I have an actual friendship and physical connection with the given person otherwise I would be calling everyone that I have “met” my friend.
Does Being Someone’s Friend Mean Having Obligations?
I would not say that being someone’s friend has obligations because if someone feels like they are forced into doing things for their friends then they are not a real friend. Because of this I believe that there is an unspoken norm for being a friend and that is to always be there for the other person whether it is in person or by some form of electronic communication if one cannot physically be there. This is important to me in a friendship because it shows how real someone’s friendship is. When my grandfather passed away I was very upset and my best friend knew that there was not really a way to make me feel better, however she stayed by my side through the entire grieving process and because of this caring gesture, I will always remember how loyal and caring she was and still is to me. She was not “obligated to stay with me; however she knew that because we were close friends that it would be the right thing to do by comforting me. This expectation would not be placed upon my “friends” on facebook because like Turkle has mentioned from Kahn’s essay, I have not shared a physical bond so I do not feel close enough to them to expect them to be there for me.
Are there benefits to friendship?
Although friendships may come with hardships such as fights it also has it benefits. For me the biggest benefit is having someone that will always be there for you and enjoying the company. Having someone to keep you company is always the best feeling. I used to be an introvert because I never experienced what a true friend is like. My friends are always willing to go along with whatever the majority of everyone wants. Therefore we would keep each other company whether it was going to someone’s sibling’s sports game or sitting in the passenger seat while the other person ran errands. Being able to have someone always there for you is a great feeling to have in life and the benefit of this is that it makes you feel better about yourself and self esteem. Another benefit from friendship is that there is always someone who you can trust to confide information in and ask for help. This person will be able to help give an opinion with out you feeling uncomfortable with what they might think about the situation. I value this benefit more than the other ones simply because it is important to have another person as an outlet to go to if stressed, upset or even excited about something.
Friendship versus Favors
I do not believe that friendship is all about favors because like obligations, people should not feel like they are going out of their way to do a favor for a friend. They should enjoy doing the favor and helping their friend because if they were mad at doing each other favors then their friendship would not be as good as they think. Friendship is about two people enjoying the company and presence of the other person and it should not have to be about who owes who a favor. The meaning of a friend should not be used in such a loose manner because of how tight knit a true friendship really is between two people and it ruins the meaning of what a true friend is supposed to be. Kahn acknowledges the opposing side to his argument in which he quotes a linguist who believes that the word is still used the same however it does have other meanings. The linguist also states that the word “friend” “as the inherent flexibility of language taking on new guises over time”(382). Kahn concludes with the linguist’s point that people often use the excuse of word meaning changing in order to point out flaws in the society; however Kahn cleverly connects this anxiety of words to anxiety of meeting friends face to face rather than online through typing. This shift serves to prove that people have changed the true meaning of the word “friend” and have made it more difficult to find the real meaning and definition of the word. This difficulty is what leads to people not knowing what a real friend is and how to make or keep one.