21st Century Language?

24Apr10
Q:  What is THE language of the 21st Century?

Answer:  Pictures

Our world has opened up and we can peek visually into other cultures and other ethnic groups, and communication with other PEOPLE around the world has opened up like never before. We learn so much from just what we see.  I myself am learning about fishing in Brasil from a Portuguese language site, yet i do not speak Portuguese.  I do however, know how to read pictures and maneuver through a website to gain information, and construct meaning–that is the language i am conversing in.  Does this 21st Century global language have a name yet?

Worldwide,when words fail, pictures succeed.  Our 21st Century world has many implications for language, interpretation and communication.  Pictures tell stories, evoke emotion and do not need language translation, only interpretation.  A picture is worth a-thousand words, and can be translated into your own Mother Tongue.

In today’s world, when we communicate with others over the net, which do you think is more relevant: Words or Visuals?

photo credit

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5 Responses to “21st Century Language?”

  1. 1 Rick

    Hi Susi,

    I can help you out with your Brazilian Portuguese, but I don’t know a thing about fishing! Actually, I even paid a visit to the fishpoint website, but still had trouble navigating around it.

    As you said, a picture is worth a thousand words, but perhaps pictures make a lot more sense when we know what the pictures are about, right? I think pictures are wonderful conversation starters, but I do feel the need to understand the words and learn more about the pictures. For instance, I would probably learn a lot from going to the Louvre alone, but I guess I’d benefit a lot more from listening (or reading) to someone telling me a bit about the history behind such and such painting.

    Pictures do teel stories and evoke emotions, but they also make room for misinterpretation. And there’s when words come into play. 🙂

    For instance, I simply love the picture you have on the blog where you talk about your stats. However, I’m now curious to find out what the woman (or man) was selling behind you, and where the picture was taken. It’s triggered the need for communication, and I don’t see how you could have conveyed that image in words. But I still miss the words. 🙂

    Anyway, now if I try to answer your question, I’d say that visuals are playing an increasingly more important role in 21st century communication. It’s never been easier for people to share pictures, and they add a lot to communication. Quoting you again, “they tell stories, evoke emotion, and do not need language translation”.

    Loved the question! 🙂

  2. 2 Susi

    Hi Rick,
    You make a fine point about pictures telling stories and being vulnerable for mis-interpretation…that is where words and clarification definitely have the upper edge for that clear, correct communication.

    Here are my clarifying words for the “Stats” picture: I am in Bangkok, the seller is wearing a typical Thai hat, and she is a street vendor selling food on a cart, and she is washing plates or preparing some vegetables or food to sell.

    Perhaps you can ask your students, and open up a debate with what students think about the importance and the factors of visuals v. words?

    Always great to check in with you! ~S.

  3. 3 Susi

    oh…and ps. The Fishing site–i go right over to the Fly fishing tabbed section…not much there ‘visually’ and i do then rely on the words, which i misinterpret! 🙂


  1. 1 Tweets that mention 21st Century Language? « Making Connections -- Topsy.com
  2. 2 links for 2010-04-25 « Teaching Miss Cheska

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