Ask A Linguist For October 1997 - December 1997
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Re: media

> From: Michael Curran <>

> I am a psychology major at San Francisco State University studying at
> the University of Amsterdam.  For my research proposal I am interested
> in media and the effects on children.  I want to know whether you
> consider the media, namely television, as a language or if it is
> simply a medium which through to communicate.
> thank you
> Michael

     Of course television is only a *medium*, not a 'language' in itself. 
Without the input of people, it is totally *empty*. Yet certain
distinctive *forms* of language often develop in response to the media in
which they are used, and television is no exception. There are certain
phrases, modes of speaking, and attitudes toward the listener that you may
notice in people communicating through television that you do not see face
to face or over other media. So television may *have* its own typical
language or sets of languages, but it is not in itself a 'language'. 

					  Karen Steffen Chung		
					  National Taiwan University


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