A Tangled Web We Weave, part 3
It really interesting to see that social networking has made this world a bit smaller for everyone. People can connect and talk to one another even if they’re miles and miles apart. However, social networking isn’t made only for those who have been acquainted beforehand. This internet strategy is also geared for people wanting to meet new friends or lovers wherever they may be. Most people have been so eager to add someone new in their long list of friends. Some would have enough guts to actually look for their dream partner or a fling. But no matter who these new acquaintances are, there still a dividing wall between online friends that needs to be crossed: Comprehension.
Among online friends, it takes quite some time before a relationship matures into something deeper or more profound. Common conversational pieces among online friends are usually about a shared interest or hobby, like in our case, gaming. We usually exchange strategies, news, rumors, and even opinions. But it ends there. The relationship is plateau and platonic at best. We never even stop to think about telling these acquaintances about our private lives unless asked or a-life-or-death situation. But what happens if, among friends, a language barrier appears? Would a relationship go so far as something intimate if such a trouble arises? What other issues arise as far as an online-originated relationship arises?
Taking into account the personal experiences of online buddies and Facebook friends, language barriers do arise when someone is friends with other people from different parts of the world. But there one language we all try to return to (or learn) when talking to people not native to our country: English. It may be the second most widely used language (next to Chinese), but it has the ironic title of being the universal language. No matter how hard it is to construct a simple English sentence, non-native speakers of the universal language try so hard to convey their thoughts into words. Some people wouldn’t really mind the countless grammar and spelling errors, as long as the message is somewhat clear. Some would even go so far as to take formal English lessons just for such interactions. But for those looking for a more intimate relationship, the correct or incorrect use of the vernacular suggests something regarding a person intellectual capacity. You see, with much of the internet anonymity rife amongst users, there no telling when someone would actually bash at another man/woman for being a “retard” just because of a failure to communicate. More often, any flaws shown by users would be at the receiving end of an insult for the rest of their online lives.
For the rest of us on the receiving end of the lingual tirade, we try our best to decipher what we can from the jumbled succession of grammatically-incorrect words / phrases. Sometimes, we even go out of our way to correct the grammar and spelling just to understand the idea. Perhaps, our effort to understand the other party is a measure of our dedication to them as friends or lovers. We wouldn’t have gone out of our way in interpreting the broken sentence if we weren’t friends with them, right?
But how and when does the effort start? Do we try to eke our extra effort in understanding because of the person looks? Is he/she hot or sexy enough for their language capacity to be passable? Or do we really show a genuine interest in them the same way we do with our real-life friends? Maybe we still retain a piece of respect for these people in order to endure talking and understanding them. Despite how shallow or platonic the friendship may be, despite the fact that we can easily delete them off our friends list, talking to them is not just transliterating a broken language, but is instead an exchange of ideas and opinions. Or maybe we just don’t mind at all.
In a duel of words, the most important parts would be to understand the language and convey your ideas to the other party. We may notice the grammar and spelling to be mistaken, but there are times we unconsciously push it all away and just continue with the current conversation. For people who’ve been judgmental just by looking at the lingual prowess of a person, it would be best to maintain a working relationship or none at all, instead of an emotional or intimate one. There no telling what other factors that person will judge you with, and in turn, be the cause for an argument. For the other people unable to shift to the English dialect, there’d be no other way to communicate except perhaps emoticons, images, or in-game actions. But due to the lack of understanding, the relationship would probably never go deeper than just a one-hit wonder. People searching for new friends would still be restricted to the preferred language of the search results out of a social networking site. The page would usually tell it all. If language is a criterion for friend selection, then it no different from the real world wherein biases are predominant.
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