In this paper, we will be exploring the evolution of language as it happens over social media specially Instagram, with a particular focus on how it develops among the youth. Language is a very valuable resource in the evolution of culture itself. Youth identity, while being performed in various ways including fashion, music, dance, etc. is very much performed through the medium of language as well. Social media is a platform through which this language is employed and developed by the people most invested in their online livesthe youth. The activities of social media are not static but mobile since users can document their movements with the help of phones and their cameras, thus bringing in the language of mobility and description of space, which gives insight into the perception of space as well. In a space where image crafting is essential, people are careful about the language they use and do not use to make sure they express their identities just right. This is also aided by the accessibility that mobile phones provide. Content Analysis is being used to draw finding regarding the youth language on Instagram platform in the UAE. hundredsInstagram comments will be analyzed in order to view the use of language by Youth while using simple random sampling technique.
1.0 Literature review:
1.1 Trait model for linguistic behavior:
In a paper,Kulkarni, & Kern(2018), developed a trait model for linguistic behavior on social media. Given the expanse of data present within social media, they decided to forgo questionnaires and directly collect this data to avoid systematic response biases. In line with trait theory, they developed what they called behavior based linguistic traits that they infer by analyzing the plethora of words and phrases used by social media users. They developed five factors that capture real personality traits and this study aimed to see if these factors are stable across time and subpopulations and generalizable with good predictive power (Kim &Phua, 2020 p.12). Their dataset was also skewed towards the youth with the average age being 25.49 years. They concluded that the factors that they established were indeed generalizable and stable. This proved to be a significant step towards research into inferring personality characteristics online (Kulkarni. 2018)Schwartz Park in an article discusses the use of social media language for automatic personality assessment. In the study they assess personality using open vocabulary analysis of language from 66,732 accounts of Facebook. As per the findings, assessment based on language can aid immensely in constituting the personality measures. It can also aid in assessing the mental/ psychological traits of associated with rich portraits.(Park, 2015)
1.2 Language identification technology:
In a study by(Shekhar, Sharma &Sufyan Beg, 2019) the researchers have tried developing a system using Artificial Intelligence to identify language used on social media. The authors focus on English and Hindi, acknowledging that the language used lately on social media is a mix of both languages, that they call Code-mixed text. Online Hindi is written using the English alphabet and often English and Hindi are mixed together in the same sentence. Since there are no established spelling rules for Hindi when it is written in English script, given that people write them as they are pronounced and some pronounce them differently than others, this process is tricky because words become difficult to identify(Shashi, 2019 p.2).
Souvick Ghosh in an article discusses Sentiment analysis is the (NLP) task managing discovery and order of in text sentiments. While a few assignments manage distinguishing the element of in text sentiments, others target to decide the extremity of the text classifying it as neutral positive, and negative. Sentiment analysis tasks intends to decide the subjects, the objectives and the extremity or valence of the conclusion. In their work, they attempt to naturally extricate feelings (positive or negative) from Facebook posts utilizing a machine learning approach (Ghosh, 2017). In another study, Instagram influence about brands and campaigns was targeted and influence of advertisement was estimated (Kim &Phua, 2020, p. 12).
1.3 Emojis and their role in relaying emotions:
In “Psyco-emotional Impact of Social Media Emoji’s (Zareen, N., Kareem, N., Khan, U., 2016)the researchers carried out a questionnaire regarding the psychological importance of emoji’s. Ninety-seven people from different workplaces and educational institutions in Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan filled out the questionnaire. An almost equal number of males and an equal number of females took part in the survey. The results showed that ninety percent of the participants considered messages containing emoji’s more meaningful than ones that did not contain emojis. 42% considered emoji’s a strong indicator of emotional expression. They concluded that, given their importance, the use of emojis can cause stress and psychological trauma (p.7). They also noted that there was a difference in response rate across age groups and gender regarding the emotional impact of emojis and their effectiveness in emotional expression(Zareen, 2016).
Socialmedia needs a marketingrhetoric that grasps rising language use and the growing communicationnorms(Bookman & Hall, 2019 p.4). The Emoji’shave become major components of communication on socialmedia; yet, their job in supporting attempts of persuasion have not been analyzed efficiently. Based on general rhetoric, this study dismembers, depicts and names influencers on socialmediato initiateengagementthrough emoji’s whereposts from 600 Weibomade by 200 influencers were gathered to build up a scientific classification of emoticons.(Ge, 2018).
1.4 Linguistic diversity and determining authenticity:
Sender Dovchin explores the linguistic diversity in the linguistic practices online of Mongolian students in university. He takes into account the socio-cultural, historical and ideological meanings behind the use of language in interactions online as well. The paper explores two main questions. One looks into the extent of these Mongolian students integrating varied lingua-cultural resources in their social media interactions (p.24). The second question explores the meaning of linguistic authenticity as perceived by these young people. He drew on sets of data taken from Facebook. His findings provide understanding into the co-existence of numerous authenticities within the increasingly globalized social sphere(Dovchin, 2015).Bookman & Hall (2019) in a study explained the impact of Instagram that has highlighted significance of brand under youth and involvement in gaining knowledge. Ingrid Piller, in an article discusses the element of social inclusion in neoliberal markets. The agenda of social inclusion has been widely adopted and the policies of social inclusion are blinded bythe ways in whichmediation of social inclusion is made via language ideologies in societies that are linguistically diverse. As per the findings, it has a major impact on the policies of the social medium being chosen. (Piller, 2011)
1.5 Identifying regional dialects:
Jacob Eisenstein, in Identifying regional dialects in online social media (2014), looks at how social media language is influenced by region. The study explores how geography might impact social media language and how it is related to the spoken language of the geographical location and the long-term implications of this variation. His dataset consisted of Tweets containing GPS metadata from the United States of America, taking into account demographic variance. His research showed how language trends in social media change over time and how they vary regionally. He looked at various abbreviations that are used online and how their usage varies across different areas. His study also shed light on how certain dialects have begun to spread beyond their original region of use because of how people from different people, used to different modes of communication start coming into contact with them online. These trends are explored over the years (Eisenstein, 2014 p.8).
YuanHuang in an article discusses the US regional linguistic variation in twitter alongside the analysis of data. It understands the US regional linguistic variation by data analysis. The tagged tweets were analyzed to understand, what are the variations in the language used across the US and as per the regionalization results linguistic variations were found in in the U.S. The discovered regions not only confirm past research findings in the literature but also provide new insights and a more detailed understanding of very recent linguistic patterns in the U.S.(Huang, 2016).
1.6 Social Media and Drama:
Kathleen P. Allen conducted a case study about Tweeting, Texting (2014) into the drama that can take place on social media. Her case study focused on a mother and herteenage upper middle-class daughter who was at the center of the drama. Her study attempts to confirm if the kind of drama that takes place on social media conforms to the already existing definition of drama. This is confirmed in the case study. Furthermore, her work develops emerging themes and fill gaps within the current understanding of drama and its literature(Allen, 2014, p.2).
(O’Meara) 2019,highlighted the inclusion of dramatic conversation in order to make the conversation effective. The population was secondary school students of Australia. The technique used was regarding the development of digital pretext for the project. The approach generate the examination of the student’s in order to discover the understanding of mistaken identities. The twelfth night from Shakespeare was performed in the classes.
1.7 Language practices based on platforms:
Every social platform has a different way of communication, and that leads to having a different style of language(Soukup, 2000, p.410). For example, Tweeter has allowed users to create status and tweets that include a maximum of 140 characters, so the public does not have a massive space to express or to convey what they want to say clearly. Otherwise, Facebook, which permits people to uses approximately 60,000 characters that mean Facebook’s statuses exceed twitter over 430 times the amount of content. However, Twitter’s audience more likely to use the shortened style of language to fit their social platform requirement. Compared to Facebook, which does not border its characters as it is difficult to reach up to number 60,000. Most often, users on Facebook do not shorten their expression and words as much as Twitter’s users do(Aeid, 2015).
Alexandra Georgakopoulou, in an article discusses YouTube being a major source of using internet and leading as the top video sharing website, where people from around the world share their video content and over the years, it has evolved as a major source and medium of information sharing. The title and description of the videos alongside thee hashtags are relevant in helping spread the website and content. Using the right words leads to be in the top searches. (Georgakopoulou, 2015)
1.8 Generational gap in communication:
A study conducted by the BBC regarding social media contribution in reducing the level of Arabic language between youth. They say that most of young create a circle linguistic consider as a boundary which does not allow other generations to understand what they mean. Probably, this case is spread between university students that creates thousands of words which only being understandable with them. Furthermore, this study illustrated main reason of why youth abandon their mother language. Some writers and thinkers use a contemporary language, but it is full of ambiguity or vocabulary that is difficult to understand its context at times. At the same time, it brings a book to the difficulty of the task for young people through the use of old and challenging vocabulary and structures that may contribute to alienating youth from classical, and choosing to refrain from reading(Khateeb, 2019).
In the United Arab Emirates, many youth groups see that this contemporary youthful language call “Arabizi”, which mean the mixture between Arabic and English, became a necessity imposed by the dimensions of technology. Moreover, its effects multiplied with the identity crisis in our Arabic societies, making us between a crossroads(Mousa, 2012).
2.0 Theoretical Framework
New Media theory refers to the conceptualization and understanding of digital culture and mediums that are computational in nature. From search engines to video & picture sharing websites, the new media theory helps understand the content and what each image, sign, symbol etc. mean. (Kim &Phua, 2020, p. 15).
The Emoji’s. Comments, tone of the comments, hence each and every element in the study is linked with this theory.
Through the lens of new media theory a content analysis of the posts made by a set of people who use Instagram in the UAE will be analyzed in this study.The new media has introduced the participatory culture where users become a part of the story and directly comment. Each Post creates its own mythology and shapes the mind of the viewer(O’Meara, 2019, p. 21). Like said, social media Emoji’s have psychological impact on the viewer. One major question that this research plans to address is how much of a role do theseusers deliberately let language play in the crafting of their online personas and theaesthetics of their Instagram profiles.
New media theory will aid in analyzing that how they use certain phrases, abbreviations,etc. to come off a certain way and maintain consistency with a certain aesthetic? This theory describes about digital technologies and sophisticated configuration regarding digital culture. New media is about digital platform that contains information and the theory is organized on socio-political principles (Jeknic, 2014, p.180). Further, how do they feel the language is a significant contributor to maintaining and enhancing their chosen aesthetic? New media theory will also aid in that this research aims to look at the relation between the Instagramusers’ online personas and their real lives and, most importantly, the relationship betweenthe language they use online and the language they use offline. It will aim to establishwhether the online images and impressions are crafted to provide users with an alter egoof themselves – to escape their real lives in a way – or whether it serves to enhance andfacilitate their present selves (Soukup, 2000, p 410).
3.0 Research Questions and Research Methodology:
This research aims to look at what young people in the age (18-25) who use Instagram think of the kind of language they use online for their posts. Instagram accounts usually are deliberately crafted around certain themes or aesthetics. Following are the research questions this study aims to address:
- What are the common languages used by youth on Instagram in UAE?
- How Instagram raises linguistic trend among youth language in UAE?
- How emojis contribute to the meaning message by youth language on Instagram?
The methodology of this research will involve content analysis of the posts made by a set of people who use Instagram in the UAE. The content on their Instagram profiles will be analyzed and they will be categorized into Personas. The frequency of certain words and phrases will be recorded. New Media Theory will be applied as well to see how many different mediums are being used by the participants and how their outreach is affected by new mediums and where the things influencing them come from and how.
The participants will be grouped into Personas and then into the broader communities. Their interactions with different communities and people with different personas will be analyzed to answers.
4.0 Content Analysis:
4.1 Case Background
The case is featuring the comments of the students of University of Sharjah and Higher College technology official Instagram account. There are hundreds of comments regarding distance learning because of coronavirus issue was evaluated on the basis of which the results were drawn. Simple random sampling technique was used in order to conduct the study and on the basis of its findings with regard to the research questions a conclusion will be addressed.
The profiles of the youth will be chosen what are the common language is used by youth on Instagram in UAE. How are they using languages like Arabic, English, Arabize. In order to figure it out hundredInstagram accounts will be evaluated with the text written and we’ll conclude our result based on these accounts and the comments sample. We studied the different comments, almost every student was worried about the distant learning strategy. Students who are not friendly with the technology were confused of online classes and exams because they prefer to attend classes in person. We experienced different emotions in comments by the students, they seemed to be furious against the decision of this distant learning and online exams. In this pandemic, where people are already psychological disturbed, students are more concerned about their studying techniques and they didn’t find themselves ready to accept this distant learning idea. We will evaluate the comments posted on these specific posts & the responses gathered in terms of their post likes.
We chose the qualitative content analysis in our study to analyze the youth language on social media. Besides, official Instagram accounts of Higher Colleges of Technology and the University of Sharjah in terms of the new decisions and regulations regarding distance learning and the new grading system. The number of student’s comments on these posts in both universities has increased. However, it was easy to collect a diversity of student’s impressions and assess their uses language on social media.
According to the official Instagram account of Higher Colleges of Technology. Occasionally, they are uploading posts concerning new politics and regulations, which consider as controversial news between college students. In light of the Coronavirus crisis, HCT established new decisions that led to attracting a considerable number of student’s participation. Besides the comments, we will observe the diversity of feedbacks and opinions between agreeing and disagree, and each student has an individual style of linguistic replying to that post. Nevertheless, we have chosen the post that uploaded on the 7th of April 2020 via the HCT account as it gains approximately 717 comments.
On the other hand, UOS has announced the continuous of using its distance learning technology on its official Instagram account on the 30th of March 2020 because of spreading Coronavirus. However, more than 100 students put comments and opinions regards this new decision whether to accept or reject. Usually, university students have using many linguistic styles to express their views.
Four main linguistic styles show similar in both accounts, which means the linguistic style of HCT students is identical to UOS students. Usually, the students whether in HCT or UOS, are using professional Arabic, UAE local linguistic, English, and Emojis linguistic. Besides the new decisions issued in both universities regarding continuous distance learning technology and the new grading system. There are a lot of complaints that came from students of these universities, so it was easy to observe their linguistic culture.
4.3.1 Emojis and symbols:
In this case of the university, students have shown their interaction and involvement by using emojis. We observed the repetitive of using similar emojis when they want to express their emotions. Using a happy face, clapping hands, Dancing, and hearts Emojis, all of them consider as an indication of approval. On the other hand, the crying, and angry emojis reflects that students disagree and did not accept the new regulations and decisions. Comparing between HCT and UOS Instagram accounts, we noted that there is a similarity of using Emojis types.
For example, every post, especially that regards to new decisions and regulations; we observe that students depend on similar Emojis. Sometimes they do a combination between comments and symbols, as they consider the Emojis as support to their opinions and expressions. However, the study selected two subjects, one from UOS and the other from HCT, both of them are talking about social learning distance and new grading system policies. We found that students used repetitive Emojis in both universities, such as hearts, happy faces, and clumping for accepting the new regulations and policies. Otherwise, some students in the same posts show the rejection and unaccepted that decisions, so they left the most common Emojis like breaking hearts, angry face, and crying emoji.
Figure 1 and 2 will clarify how the students using the Emojis to express their acceptance between two universities. Also, it shows the similarity of Emojis that have used by students:
The current research study shows the involvement of students with the decisions of university authority. According to the objective of this study, comments and emojis are important to understand the nature of decision and response. Comments discuss the common language used by students on Instagram and prevailing trends.Some students show liking and some disliking, based on the fact that coronavirus needs to adopt distance learning approach, it was not appreciated by many. Each social platform specially Instagram uses its own kind of language and emojis as sufficient communication. The study has identified regional dialects that are popular on Instagram because every region is common to use prevalent language with minimal variations.In comments, students’ best explain the expression they can.For example, students commented, ‘how classes can be stopped’, or ‘online learning is no easier’ etc. besides, this part will introduce the comments that have used via students in the posts that shared by UOS and HCT regards the news politics and decisions
- Complaints and Criticisms
Many students see Instagram as a way of sending complaints, suggestions, and public discussions. For instance, both universities have students do not communicate with management directly; they are sharing their problems on Instagram and publicly. Although the management of both universities replies to their complaints, still they insisting on creating controversially. For example, some comments were about the new policies of the final exam it shows the students are afraid. The common comment was, ” how will we deal with the online final exam?”. However, both of these universities students show the same expressions about the new policies.
- Mockery and Irony
The purpose of irony in literature is to stop the audience and let them think about what they are doing. In this way, a criticism mockery is developed to achieve the objective. The objective of study is to find out the impact of youth language through Instagram while social media is a common way to estimate the way by which students behave. It is common among youth and students have shown their decisions in this way. For example, the comments included spoof words regards social distance learning and about their student’s life, and they are missing the parking traffic and university’s crowded.It is a common part of new media that aims at opinion meaning or shows sentiments.On the other hand, there are some students lifting comedian and irony comments on both universities’ decisions. Also, some students thanks to Corona Virus, because it let the universities to cancel the classes and attendance.
- Students discussions:
Also, Instagram allows the interaction of individuals through sharing, sending, posting, and uploading statuses. Students of these universities like and enjoy social media because of its trend in UAE. The common posts used for this paper are two posts from official Instagram accounts of Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and the University of Sharjah (UOS). Students commented on these posts and reflected their expressions.
For example, students in both universities, reply to each other under the posts regarding the new decisions. Although the universities were clarifying in-depth the details about the new regulations, some students still depend on their colleagues for discussions and questions. Another example, some students put predictable news and analysis the new decisions as they like, such as “they say that everybody will pass this course” or “the final exam will be difficult.” Sometimes the replies on one student’s comments reach to approximately 30.
Also, there are a group of students left comments that clarify the reasons for acceptance or rejection of the new decisions. Besides the feedback, we noticed that UOS and HCT students using English, original Arabic, and UAE local linguistic to reply to the posts.for example, it is found out that language practice differs in Arab, Emirati, and international students, specifically at the University of Sharjah. The inference is drawn from the experiment to discuss an element of diversity due to multiple nationalities in this sample. The findings suggest that specialization has a significant role in determining language, such as Arab specializations that have shown students who were inclined to the Arabic writers.
The English language is found as a primary mode of communication because international students with majors preferred the English language. In Higher College of Technology, Emirati language is preferred by Emirati nationality holders, while the English language is also preferred because it is a primary language by college teachers. There are three main linguistics elements that used by both university students which consists of:
- UAE local Dialect:
We observed that local students preferred using the local language to express their opinions and feelings according to the new decisions and regulations that changed based on the Covid-19 crisis. There are a lot of comments that lifted by Emirates students, whether complaints or suggestions. Comparing UOS and HCT, we saw that HCT has students using the local language as all of them are citizens. on the other hand, UOS has a mixture of nationalities which shows some different local languages Egyptian.
- Original Arabic Dialect:
Both universities have students who are depending on original Arabic for many reasons. When they communicate or sending questions to the university, they are using the Arabic language because it will become official participation. Another example, UOS consider as an umbrella of civilizations, so they using Arabic as an understandable way of communicating. Besides new decisions, many students lift a significant Arabic sentence to express if they accept or reject it. most probably they are writing and show more when they disagree as it considers the best method to suggest or sending opinions.
- English Language
The English Language considers as the second primary language in UAE and, it is an essential language in most of the universities. According to UOS and HCT, when they posted about new rules and policies. Some students participated in English, especially foreigners. Both universities are teaching English, so usually, their students will depend on the English language, whether in classes or on social media. Moreover, there are many UAE citizens, and from the Arab region who is witting an English. Also, they are using this language to communicate with their universities or friends.
5.0 Discussion and Conclusion
The issue of distance learning due to Covid-19 is discussed in this paper, under hundreds of comments by students of official Instagram accounts of the University of Sharjah and Higher College Technology. A random sampling technique is used to know results. After studying different comments, the use of emojis, and texts were written by students, and perception is examined. The content analysis provided a grading system, diversity of feedback, and their opinion about agree and disagree. This structure is analyzed under the linguistic style because it was most familiar with students to show their expression.
Research findings are drawn on theoretical framework under significant terms. Trait model for linguistic behavior analyzes the plethora of words and phrases used by social media. The Language identification technology like Artificial Intelligence Code-mixed text are important to understand the comments. In addition, emojis put psyco-emotional impact on behavior and expression. Emoji is also used frequently because it takes less time and effort to show the likeness. Linguistic diversity represents ideological meanings. It is clear from the study that diversity of language is common among students. The regionalization results linguistic variations such as different dialects.
The current research study discussed the impact of youth language on Instagram with specific reference to the UAE. Common words, phrases, emojis and symbols are popular with youth on social media. Through emojis, a higher proportion of the student’s reflected that they agree and disagree. Research has used different languages common with youth that they frequently used on Instagram.New media theory has added in this research by looking at the relation between the Instagram users’ online personas and their real lives and, most importantly, the relationship between the language they use online and the language they use offline.In UAE, different youth groups are engaged in youthful language, English, Arabic, and Arabize, a mixture of both English and Arabic. Research study has answered the research questions that English, Arabic and using emojis are the common languages used by youth in UAE for Instagram.Arabize is a combination of two languages, and none of such language was acquired that represent dual characters, so it is preferable to say it is an ancient language.
Also, the paper answered how emojis contribute to the delivery of the messageand youth using it. The situation presents that young people need a quick solution, so they preferred quick response through a short emoji expression. Current study has added value to existing literature by focusing on the linguistic behaviors and structural significance through prevailing social media methods.Instagram also raises the linguistic trend on them by using special comments, discussing the case and posts between each other, and taking answers by comments and replying.Content analysis has illustrated the scope of language and students’ perception due to social media and how effectively they describe.
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