Четверг, Июль 19Институт «Высшая школа журналистики и массовых коммуникаций» СПбГУ

THE 20th CENTURY: THE ERA OF MEDIA IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF POLISH LANGUAGE

20 ВЕК: ЭРА МЕДИА В РАЗВИТИИ ПОЛЬСКОГО ЯЗЫКА 

В статье представлено употребление и изменение языка в средствах массовой информации: в печати, на радио, на телевидении, а также в Интернете. Предметом интереса автора являются языковые и коммуникативные особенности функционирования языка в массмедиа. Согласно авторской мысли наиболее важными процессами являются создание, организация массмедиадискурса, а также повышение влияния медиа на функционирование языка, что становится все более и более значимым для системы польского языка. Таким образом, период XX столетия начиная с 1939 г. может по праву именоваться эрой медиа в истории развития польского языка.

In this article its author presents how the 20th century media, the press, radio, television, but also the Internet, contributed to the use of language and how they changed it. The subject matter are the linguistic and communication consequences of the functioning of the mass media. According to the author, the most important are the creation of the media discourse and the rise of the linguistic type of media, a completely new one, which is becoming more and more important within the system of linguistic types of Polish. Hence, the period of the 20th century since 1939 can be rightly called the era of media in the history of Polish language.

Малгожата Кита, доктор филологических наук, профессор факультета филологии Силезского университета 

E-mail: malgorzata.kita@us.edu.pl

Małgorzata Kita, PhD, Professor of the Faculty of Philology, University of Silesia 

E-mail: malgorzata.kita@us.edu.pl

УДК 81-2
ББК 76.01
ГРНТИ 16.01.11 
КОД ВАК 10.01.10 

Translation by Karolina Krysta

Introductory notes. Let us recall the view of Irena Bajerowa, an outstanding historian of language, dating back to 1980: technology is a vital element of the evolution of language, a stimulus causing both detailed and general linguistic changes [Bajerowa 1980: 60]. It is an assessing outlook of the scholar from the historical linguistics’ perspective on the language — technology relation is not uniform: there are positive and negative sides. And whatever happened, after having written these words, is extremely dynamic: “Each one of us uses many technological devices, and we have got used to them so much that we stopped to wonder at them and admire them” [Goban-Klas 1999: 13]. Computers, which are so widespread now, transform our lives, change the nature of our communication, transgress the national boundaries, modify the linguistic and communication customs and generate new ones, create new genealogical forms or recreate those that existed before.

What is happening to language in the 20th century, especially in its second half, is a positive verification of views proclaimed over 30 years ago by Irena Bajerowa, which concern the unbreakable and complex relations between language and technology. This scholar postulates that we should look for a complete picture of the conditions of the evolution of language and consider technology within its realm:

«W obrazie tym koniecznie zwrócić trzeba uwagę na działanie techniki, której rozwój jest głównym znamieniem naszych czasów; jest dzisiejszą nadzieją i zarazem dzisiejszym zagrożeniem ludzkości. Niewątpliwie więc jest siłą, od której zależy także całokształt bytowania naszego społeczeństwa, także rozwój naszego języka. <…> 

Zbadanie wpływu techniki na ewolucję języka nie tylko ukaże nam ciekawe szczegóły językoznawcze, ale właśnie w interesujący sposób odsłoni ambiwalentne — pozytywne i negatywne — efekty nacisku techniki na ogólne życie społeczności, ujawni procesy z innego punktu widzenia słabo dostrzegalne, orientując nas w najważniejszych dylematach współczesnej kultury» [Bajerowa 1980: 3-4]1

A great expert of oral culture, the primal and the one observed in contemporary societies, points at a new quality of civilization in his inspiring work “Oralność i piśmienność. Słowo poddane technologii”: after the oral culture, the written one2, comes the epoch of secondary orality: “The age of electronics is… the epoch of the secondary orality, the orality of the telephone, radio, television, orality the understanding of which depends on writing and print” [Ong 1992: 23]. The scholar describes the secondary orality in the following words: “This new pre-writing is stunningly similar to the old one with respect to the mystique of participation, the nurturing of the sense of community, focusing on the present day” [Ibid.: 136]. There appears a new broader idea of new phenomena which are the effects of the technological and communication changes: the electronics as the latest phase of the media-metamorphosis. 

Transformations in language, changes in linguistic communication, connected with the two-coursed relation language-culture, they all lead linguists to a reflection on the periodization of Polish in the 20th century, especially after the historic year of 19393

A proposition is made (in the form of a question, with modulants impairing assertion) to call the latest period in the history of Polish a media era of the history of Polish language, a time that begins after 1939 and marks the end of the new Polish era [Bajerowa 2003: 158]4. This is how Irena Bajerowa justifies her choice:

«A więc jeśli mamy język inny niż przed 1939 r., bo „masowy” i rozpowszechniany głównie przez media masowe (nowy kanał informacji i nowy autorytet), to chyba trzeba ten okres zaliczyć już do innej, może „medialnej” doby historii języka polskiego» [Ibid.: 159].

In the later part of this article I am going to ponder on the dilemma of what mass media brought to Polish language in order to justify the term of the media era, that supposedly began in the 20th century. However, before I do so, as cultural linguistics urges me to do, I am going to point at some changes in the spheres of media and social life, that are connected to language and its use.

Media. It is not an easy task to define mass media. Very often, instead of a definition, we use enumeration or we recall an umbrella term: mass media include: press, radio, television, the Internet. Such a term of media, mass media is a hiperonimic description of the chronologically listed5: press, radio, television, the Internet, and more broadly speaking: “the new media”6

A broad definition of media was presented by Neil Postman [Postman 2002], who views it as a social and intellectual environment created by a machine.

What is happening to media today is best described by the title of a compilation of works by Jerzy Mikułowski Pomorski: The Changing World of Media [Mikułowski Pomorski 2008]. Henry Jenkins draws another dynamic, yet more dramatic, picture presenting the contemporary situation of the media field in his work: Kultura konwergencji. Zderzenie starych I nowych mediów. [Jenkins 2006] The terms are also abruptly changed, the notion “new media” ceases to be adequate as “new new media” arise [Levinson 2010]. 

The mass communication, the climax of which takes place in the 20th century, is replaced in the 21st century by a new mass communication, an individualized one, as it is called by Manuel Castells. It retains its mass character as it reaches global audience. However, it is individualized as it is created by the user himself and reaches potential recipients on its own. Moreover, the search for concrete messages or meanings from the Internet and electronic communication nets is the subject matter of personal selection [Castells 2013: 66].

Media society. Along the development of the 20th century mass media and the explosion of the Internet7, there appears the generation of the network: a demographic group which prizes the computer with the Internet access more than the TV; the Internet is called the social meta-medium [Filiciak 2010]. Therefore, most attention will be devoted to the Internet in this article. A member of this generation is active, egoistic, but also capable of altruistic acts. He or she is also critical, disapproves of hierarchy, acts immediately and expects immediate response. He or she shows much narcissism and exhibitionism (when I analyze their verbal manifestations, I give this phenomenon the label “selling one’s privacy”), which find their expression in a specifically internet-based genre, a blog or a microblog. Another expression of narcissism is the tendency of posting photographs online (selfies, or sweet photos).

The intrusion of the computer into our everyday life, and the existence of the communication that is possible because of this device, create in consequence a new type of society and new forms of interpersonal contacts. As Manuel Castells rightly observes, a contemporary person does not use direct experience as everything comes to him/her via media and it is through media that people perceive the world now. Modern multimedia construct, according to the scholar, is a new symbolic environment: they render the virtual world our reality. Along the dominating presence of media in culture and everyday life, in the second half of the 20th century, a media society begins to form; this is how Stanisław Michalczyk writes about it: 

«Centralną cechą społeczeństwa medialnego jest rosnące scalanie się zmian społecznych ze zmianami systemu medialnego. Rzeczywistość, tożsamość i stosunki społeczne są ściśle zespolone i powiązane z mediami i ich społecznym wykorzystywaniem (używaniem). <…> Można je zdefiniować jako takie, w którym: „następuje niebywały ilościowy i jakościowy rozwój mediów publicznych; kształtują się nowe formy medialne, np. czasopisma adresowane do konkretnych grup docelowych, kanały tematyczne i rodzajowe, media sieciowe; wzrastają możliwości mediów jako pośrednika w przekazywaniu informacji i przekazywanie to nabiera znacznego przyspieszenia; coraz silniejsza staje się medialna penetracja (przenikanie) wszystkich dziedzin życia społecznego (medializacja); istnieje wysokie społeczne zainteresowanie i pozytywna ocena mediów» [Michalczyk 2008: 16].

Hence, one can say that the concept of the media society is connected to two phenomena (or two processes): a media change and mediatisation. Scholars state that contemporary society is more strongly determined by media than it was before and that “media intrude into its development more fiercely” [Ibid.: 16]. It is a society in which interpersonal relations have more indirect character, a media one, where all human acts are enhanced by media-informative techniques, where media create the media culture and its infrastructure is the basis of information networks [Goban-Klas 2005].

A man in the theatre of virtual life. The Internet is a place in which Goffman’s metaphor of everyday life as a theatre, later developed by Anthony Giddens, is fully realized. Drawing from Shakespeare and his sentence: The World is a Theatre, People are Actors who Come on the Stage and Disappear (How do you like it?, act II), Erving Goffman created a sociological concept, according to which a man always acts and takes on different roles, and developed it in his scholarly activity8. The Internet enabled the intensification of this phenomenon and gave it a global dimension:

«Człowiek ponowoczesny czuje się w cyberprzestrzeni jak w domu, bo tu może, nie odchodząc od komputera, w nieskończoność regenerować swoją tożsamość, godząc rozdarcie wynikające ze sprzeczności realnego życia. W ciągu godziny internauta może zaspokoić wszystkie swoje potrzeby: osiągnąć androgyniczną pełnię, zamieniając na forum dyskusyjnym swą płeć; wyładować się, wysyłając wulgarne komentarze pod tekstem autora, którego nie lubi; spełnić funkcje przykładnego konsumenta, kupując w internetowym sklepie, i wrócić do arkadyjskiego raju, wymieniając się z nieznajomymi-znajomymi z całego świata muzyką, poezją lub pornografią» [Bendyk 2002: 45].

Thus, it is a world of unlimited freedom, the modulant refers to the possible restrictions that have merely the technological, not the ethical, character. Such freedom and its use can stem from the fact that the Internet user feels safe in the virtual world, as he or she thinks he/she is anonymous. Surfing, navigating in the Internet — these are the metaphors describing our activity in the virtual sphere. In these words the elements of the unknown, unpredictable, of adventure, risk, danger, and… necessity can be traced (see: Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse by Plutarch).

The discourse community. Modern communication technologies, the Internet above all, create the possibilities for new types of human relations: “Nowadays, creating and recreating of social reality is embedded again in local communities, but it takes place on completely different terms than previously, as the possibilities offered by virtual reality excessively strengthen the dynamics of modern everyday life” [Slevin 2008: 601].

From the point of view of the theory of verbal communication, the Internet users create a discourse community. Its subject matter, as opposed to linguistic community, can be described in the words by Stanisław Gajda:

«Do społeczności językowej, zwłaszcza etnicznej (narodowej), należymy właściwie od urodzenia, a jej normy językowe i komunikacyjne opanowujemy od wczesnego dzieciństwa w procesach socjalizacji i kulturyzacji. Natomiast społeczności dyskursywne w znacznym stopniu wybieramy — wchodzimy do nich, kierując się swoimi zainteresowaniami zawodowymi, ideowymi, religijnymi itd. lub pod wpływem okoliczności życiowych. <…> Istotą tej ostatniej jest budowanie własnego świata społecznego, którego jądro stanowi wspólnota ideowo-kulturowa zbudowana na określonej wizji świata» [Gajda 2001: 8].

The content of the discourse community remains to be studied in greater detail. Surely, journalists belong to it, but also people working in the “media field” or those representing the world of PR, media relations, advertising, marketing…. We can assume, as well, that in the media society every user becomes the member of the media discourse community.

Media discourse. The existence of the media society, media discourse community becomes the generator of the media discourse. Its elements are: mass media, among them “new media” and “new new media”, along with their form of organization, place, time of functioning, institutional, group, and individual subjects, media announcements with their types and functions. It can be synthetically described in the following words:

«Dyskurs medialny należy do określonego typu społecznej praktyki komunikacyjnej. Ma bowiem swoją instytucjonalność, ideologię i władzę (IV władza) oraz społeczność korzystającą ze środków masowego przekazu. Konstytuuje się również w trzech wymiarach: użycia języka, przekazywania idei oraz interakcji w sytuacjach społecznych… Bazą dla niego są różne media z ich specyfiką kodów werbalnych i niewerbalnych (media lingwalne, audialne, audiowizualne)» [Żydek-Bednarczuk 2013: 189].

Such discourse is defined with the help of contextual factors, to a much lesser degree the structural ones. They are created by converging and blending press discourse [Kita 2013a], radio discourse [Kita 2013b], television discourse [Loewe 2013], the Internet discourse [Żydek-Bednarczuk 2013]. In the linguistic dimension this discourse includes two phenomena called “language in media” and “the language of media”.

What are the proofs of the influence of the technologized communication on language and communication within the discourse category? I believe the most important consequence of the interactivisation of the media-based communication, of turning the recipient of media into its user (especially in the case of the Internet), is the possibility to speak in public that an average man was given when he\she was transformed into pro-sumer/producer on an unknown previously scale. It is visible in the verbal activity in the blog sphere, in the communication in the social media realm.

The Internet has created an unknown before communication sphere with its many dimensions. Using its technological possibilities means a democratization of human participation in communication. The so-called average user of language is no longer only a consumer of words, a passive recipient — as it was the case in the process of mass communication. Every person who wants to, and has the opportunity (but this seems to be a secondary term), can now be the author of an announcement which is then published online, now we can be the users.

A media type. The title of this sub-chapter contains a supposition that there exists a media type of language. At the same time, among the scientists of modern Polish language, this discussion is still going on. In a few typologies presenting the variety of Polish language in the 20th century, especially the older ones, such a type does not appear at all, which can be explained by the fact that at the time when they were constructed the social esteem and range of media were relatively small. Nevertheless, the advent of a more democratic medium than the press, the radio (the reception of which did not call for any special competences, like the ability to read in the case of the press), at the beginning of the 20th century made people realize that its role as a channel for popularizing the norms of general language was immense.

In the article entitled “Does there exist a media type?” [Kita 2012] I list, based on the data from rich literary works on this subject,9 a few characteristics and linguistic and communication phenomena which can be treated as the proof that a media type exists; this list, however, is open for modification:

1. Specific, complex, multidimensional sender-recipient system

2. Inner differentiation: sub-types of the press, radio, television, the Internet; they used to be separate at the beginning of their arrival until they started to blend, a fact that is called the convergence of media.

3. Impact / influence / effect / acting / interaction of media:

а. The creation of the language of the Internet and a couple of professional languages (the computer or the press language);

b. The shift in the hierarchy of language types: the primacy of standard Polish over the literary type, the expansion of colloquial Polish;

c. Redefinition of public affairs and private ones, also in the language plan;

d. Positive valuing of the idiolects;

e. Including the whole society within the influence sphere, turning a passive recipient into an active one thanks to electronic interactive technologies;

f. Changes in the topics “not spoken of” before (the most spectacular one is the verbal exhibitionism in talk shows);

g. The arise of new type of politics in the realm of the society of spectacle: pop politics and post-politics;

h. Erosion of grammatical and phonetic rules. Creation of new graphic customs (e. g. emoticons, abbreviation, semantisation of letters, grammatical experiments).

4. Linguistic and stylistic mixtures (or linguistic and stylistic eclectics).

5. Media genres, created for the purpose of media communication:

a. Adopted for / by media;

b. Specific for media/or a medium.

6. Creation of new form of textuality: the hypertext.

7. Politeness:

a. Modified general code of politeness;

b. Non-etiquette, a new type of etiquette called to life by CMC

8. Linguistic norm.10

9. Media people as a new type of linguistic role models.

Therefore, we can point at proofs and data, both empirical and theoretical, that testify that the media language can be granted the status of a language type called the media type. Such a term is broader than the traditional one (like press type, press-publicist type), it shifts the focus of linguistic thinking about it to a medium as an environment in which exists a type. The name itself: the media type, is adequate in order to show the complexity of sender institutions. They include professional journalists and media people, well described by Pierre Bourdie’s “journalists’ field”, but the spectrum of the types of people engaged in the media text is broader. The communication and linguistic acts are determined by the media situation, among them we can find: politicians, artists, intellectuals, celebrities, “ordinary people”, “extraordinary people”, and those completely “average ones”.

The media type has no strictly drawn linguistic, communication, and social boundaries. It is internally differentiated; it draws from other types and itself is a reservoir from which other types borrow. It has an eclectic character, rightly presented in the metaphor of the melting pot. It combines well with the intellectual climate of the era of “fluency”.

Conclusion. A media announcement belongs to these announcements described as polimodal, mixed, created out of various semiotic codes, they are global texts. One of its codes is the language, hence linguists focus on THE WORD (that is the language itself), distancing themselves from other codes that constitute the media message (still, the methodologically justified isolation of the linguistic code can sometimes by gradual). How important the word is, which is seen in the domination of the linguistic code, is explained by Władysław Lubaś: “the linguistic code is the basic instrument of semiotic message [in television, MK]” [Lubaś 1981: 9] and Walery Pisarek: “the national language is the most important media code, it gives sense to messages expressed by other codes” [Pisarek 2000: 12].

In the 20th century mass media became the generator of revolutionary changes in communication and language, which brought about the birth and development of media era in Polish language. They also spurred the dynamic development of linguistic discourse about media and, consequently, contributed to the rise of a new sub-discipline: medialinguistics. Its assumptions and program was presented by Bogusław Skowronek11. The last sentence from his books is as follows:

Surely, mass media do not create human life, they may influence it to some extent; the goal of medialinguistics is to study the role and participation of language in forms and scope of this media influence [Skowronek 2013: 253].

1 Irena Bajerowa points in her essay at changes taking place in language due to the technological development: changes in sending and receiving  messages, the growing distance between the sender and the recipient, the overload of “arguing” communications, an excessive unification of language, the reduction of its richness.

2 The opposition of orality and writing shows two courses in which culture functions, ways of thinking, cognitive styles, ways of coding and decoding the utterances [Ong 1992].

3 There are different propositions as to how divide this era. Stanislaw Dubisz divides the time after 1939 into four sections: 1945–960, 1960–1980, 1980–1990 and 1990–1995 [Dubisz 1995]. Irena Bajerowa offers a similar division, yet into three sections: 1939–1960, 1960–1989, 1989–2000 [Bajerowa 2003: 156].

4 In the history of Polish language we distinguish the old Polish era (1136 — the turn of 15th and 16th centuries), middle Polish era (the beginning of 16th century till the 18th century) and new Polish era (1770–1939).

5 The emergence of new mass media was accompanied by a shift in the research field: from press studies to media studies. Today a vital question is the one posed by Tomasz Goban-Klas: “At the beginning there was press, now… a portal? Or maybe SMS — MMS — a banner at the bottom of one’s screen?” [Goban-Klas 2006].

6 There is no uniform definition of new media. By this notion we understand these types of media whose existence depends on digitalization, miniaturization, compression of data, the net and convergence. It is a very broad definition. To see it in greater detail go to [Nowe media 2009].

7 The communicative attractiveness of the Internet can be explained with the fact that it absorbs already existing communication and interactive practices. It uses and modifies a wide range of practices and techniques that were historically shaped, also those that were typical for the previous mass media.

8 The concept of the role (linguistic role) is a very important element of sociolinguistics, see [Grabias 1991].

9 Let us remind: about the media type speaks very decisively, and as the first one, Urszula Żydek-Bednarczuk, placing it within the changes in communication acts that are connected with cultural processes on a global scale [Żydek-Bednarczuk 2004]. The media type is also mentioned by Marian Bugajski [Bugajski 2009] and Aleksander Kiklewicz [Kiklewicz 2010].

10 Media are a social sphere which is obliged to use a role model. The expansion of colloquialism in media and, what follows, the intrusion of everyday norms, does not  erase this rule; acts that realize the everyday norm , except for the Internet, are treated as very characteristic.

11 See also [Gajda 2010].

© Kita M., 2015

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