The Digital World and the Elements in Digital Communication and FL Learning

The Digital World and the Elements in Digital Communication and FL Learning

Levent Uzun (Uludag University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch203

Chapter Preview



The rapid improvement in the field of technology and particularly the invention of the computer(s) and the Internet has ended up in a new era, namely the Information Age (IA). The innovative artifacts of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have facilitated and accelerated the processing and dissemination of knowledge throughout the world, meanwhile creating a huge network coverage that also took the globalization and intercultural communication (IC) to an upgraded dimension. IC has been a hot issue for a considerable time that has increased its importance during the last three decades (Ware, 2013; Yoshida et al., 2013; Holliday et al., 2010; Ess & Dudweeks, 2005, etc.). The need for more and better IC has been stressed in almost every international platform as a call for global dialogue, respect, and tolerance. The development of the infrastructure, that is, the physical equipments and conditions as well as the opportunities for these equipments and services to be accessed and/or afforded by more and more people has resulted in a sustainable digitalized world which is quite much open to improvement, and offers plenty of advantages, but also requires careful attention and regulations for management. Notwithstanding current gaps in law and potentials for conflict among individuals that might rise in this new world of IA, there are not any universal rules and regulations set and validated for the entire digital world (DW). This is so partially because the DW comprises too broad spectrum of social, political, economic, etc. groups that each has its own cultural elements and management traditions to be regarded. Although the unique societies share the same platform and are a part of the same virtual world, in the physical world they still have their own boarders to protect, laws to obey, culture and traditions to follow, etc. Moreover, the spoken languages are also varied and diverse that poses an obstacle for a smooth communication and conformity. Therefore, unifying the world and validating universal rules and regulations to follow and obey in the DW does not seem as easy as it is creating the DW or involving individuals in it. Nevertheless, if we accept that progress is not impossible but just a matter of time, there is no reason for not being optimistic and hopeful about the future. There is much to research and know about beginning from human psychology, cyber crime issues, and software management to online processes, foreign languages, cultural elements, etc. in order to gain a good insight of the big picture and establish a solid connection among all the factors involved in the matter.

The artifacts of ICT such as smart phones, computers, related software, etc. have been proliferated, and the fact that the Internet has become significantly more widespread in the world, have created opportunities for people to become accustomed to different cultures, languages, and environments where people of various social, cultural, and educational levels meet, share information, and/or become involved in bilateral projects, activities, discussions, etc. However, although this is encouraged and desired by the authorities that rule or govern cities or countries, there is also a risk that conflicts or even deliberate hatred for foreigners might appear and spread through the communities. This possibility is serious and cannot be ignored, and thus should be examined in detail, so that the friendly call for global dialogue will not cultivate undesired results, or results that do not match or meet the purpose of the call. The present study reviews the literature related to online communication, cultural dimensions, and the role of English in IC that takes place in virtual environments (VEs) enhanced by ICTs. The study also delves into the differences in the pragmatic systems and linguistic tendencies of Eastern and Western as well as Northern and Southern cultures within the scope of the ‘high-context’ (HC) and ‘low-context’ (LC) framework proposed by Hall (1976). The study also discusses the pedagogical possibilities that the DW offers in support of foreign language (FL) -particularly English- learning and teaching, in the light of innovative educational philosophies and approaches to FL education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intercultural Communication: The interdisciplinary field of study that investigates how people of different cultural, religious, social, educational, etc. backgrounds interact and understand one another through different discourse systems and how these affect language use and attitudes of individuals in communication.

Information and Communication Technologies: The artifacts of technology that enable users to access, transmit, and manipulate information through means such as mobile phones and computers that are equipped with the necessary software, audio and visual systems.

Virtual Environments: The environments that are not physically available, but could be reach only through the artifacts of technology such as computers or mobile phones.

Information Age: The period of human history, also referred to as Computer Age or Digital Age, which comprises the innovations that have emerged in the computing and cybernetics after the Industrial Revolution.

Low Context Culture: The culture in which meanings of communication messages are stated clearly and explicitly, without depending on the context or communication situation (Goshylyk and Goshylyk, 2010 AU23: The in-text citation "Goshylyk and Goshylyk, 2010" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Digital World: The virtual environment that is constructed and developed through computers and enhanced by the Internet, and contains or allows processing and storing of digitalized data.

High Context Culture: The culture in which the meanings of communication messages are found in the situation and in the relationship of the interlocutors or are internalized in the beliefs, values, and norms (Goshylyk and Goshylyk, 2010 AU22: The in-text citation "Goshylyk and Goshylyk, 2010" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: