Q). How do the authors of both passages present the explosion of the cyber-world? Compare the language, style and content of the both passages using close reference. By Xainab Shuja

Standard

Passage A is an extract from a newspaper article, titled, “it’s so over, cool Cyberkids abandon Social Networking Sites”. The genre of the passage is non-fiction and the audience is people who read newspaper, adults and young adults. Passage B is an extract from a newspaper report. Passage B is an extract from newspaper titled,” Social Websites Harm Children’s Brains”. The genre of the passage is non-fiction and the audience includes people who read newspaper, adults and people who want to know about the harmful effect of the social media on one’s brain. Passage A is from “The Guardian” and Passage B is extract from “Mail Online”. The overall intended effect of the passage is to persuade the reader not to use Social Media, and both the passages use the different linguistic devices such logic, evidence, statistics and the linguistic devices to convey their messages.

The tone of the Passage A is informative, and changes or alternated with the formal and semi-formal, for example” the surest way” is formal and “skinny jeans” and “ra-ra skirts” add a hint of casualty/semi-formalness. As a result, the reader is able to relate to passage as well as extract information from it. The tone of the Passage B is very argumentative and aggressive, but still maintaining a sense of formality, e.g.: “are causing alarming changes” and “circulate text messages”. Because the tone is strongly persuasive, the writer enforces his opinions onto the reader. The first tone was relatable figurative language and everyday words to get the reader to relate to the passage to agree with it, it has lighter approach.

The evident theme of the both passages is “Social Media”, and it is that theme that one must keep in my mind while analyzing or comparing the two texts. This theme is constantly depicted in passage B with the phrases such as “Social Networking is causing alarming changes” and “Social networking could leave an entire generation”. Whereas in passage A, we get to know the themes through jargons suck as “facebook” and “twitter”. Both the passages try to keep the theme as explicit as possible to bring about awareness of the issue being discussed.

The attitude of the passage A is very matter of fact and straight to the point. The writer wastes no time in letting us know what the issue is. He fills in with the a little bit of rhetoric before dishing out the facts, but other than that uses phrases like “are regularly checking up” and “older people seems to be embracing “ to get his point across. The attitude of passage B is strongly biased. The writer tilts all his arguments to hid favor, tossing neutrality aside. The attitudes affect the reader in different way.Passage A lightly persuades the reader to “consider” using social media less, while in passage B, the writer forces his views upon the reader, so the reader feels like his responsibility to agree to the writer.

The expert opinion given in the first passage is that of James Thickett, “clearly, take up among the 16-year olds … is getting older”. Similarly in passage B, the writer provides the opinion of Sue Palmer,” we are seeing children’s brains … for millennia”. Both the writers use expert opinions to back up their arguments. Psychologically, humans are more likely to agree to something if it is coming from an expert or well-known person.

The language used in passage A, as Goldilocks would say, is “just right”. The language used is neither too complex (excluding a few jargons) nor too simple, but a nice comfortable middle. The only time unique words are used is where there is exaggeration, and that of course is for a reason. The language used in passage B uses very strong words such as “alarming changes” and “instant gratification”. For passage A, the writer kept the language style fairly simple, embellishing only where necessary. In other words, the writer wants his message conveyed clearly and simply.  Passage B, on the other hand, uses strong words to essentialise the message, and ingrain the point in reader’s mind.

The usage of’  m statistics in both passages is very clear. In passage A, the writer says “from 55% at the start of last year to 50% this year” and “30% of British adults have a facebook profile”. In passage, the writer comments, “150 million use facebook “and “six million signed up for twitter “. Although passage B uses statistics in a more exaggerated way, the usage of statistics more or less the same in both passages. The usage of facts makes the passage more genuine and believable to the reader, and he feels like he can trust the information.

Both the texts use punctuation in certain ways to achieve. For example in passage A, the writer says, ”has dropped for the first time-“and “16 -year -olds is very high …”. Here, the writer uses hyphens and ellipses to emphasize the phrase, or as said in show business, “pause for effect”. The writer also uses commas more than full stops to create a continuum of thought, and a good flow of reading for the reader to enjoy. In passage B, punctuation does not really play a vital role in the writing, but the writer has “paused for effect” in some places” extremely profitable – “, “if there is a true increase-“. This use of punctuation makes the reader pause and think in some places, already forming his opinions.

We cannot exactly say that the language used in passage A is simple. Words like “proliferation”, “trawling” and “adolescent exodus” prevent us from doing so. This vocabulary should be described as unique, because it is a rather odd choice of wording and is only used in places where the writer has meant to exaggerate, e.g.: “trawling the pages of facebook”, “travestying the outer reaches of MySpace “. The vocabulary in passage B, however, can only be described as heavy. Coupled with jargons and such, words like “engage””, millennia”, “eminent” and “gratification” make it evident to the reader that a serious issue is being discussed. This usage of vocabulary helps to awaken the reader’s senses and allow him to be fully aware of the topic at hand.

The clear use of jargons is maintained throughout passages. For example, in passage A, “facebook”, “MySpace”, and in passage B,”Bebo” and “twitter”. Using in any kind of writing. Using jargons in any kind of writing gives the reader the sense that the writer is well informed on the subject he is writing about.

The writers of the both passages also provide evidence to their claims in both texts. For example, in passage A, the writer names people such as James Thickett and Peter Phillips, and in passage B, Sue Palmer and Sharon Greenfield. The writer provides evidence as backup and sort of safety net for his claims in other words; the evidence provided proves the writer’s authenticity.

Exaggeration is one of the most obvious tools that the writers thought would come in handy. In passage A, the writer extremely stresses out some points this way – “trawling the pages of facebook”, 0.”Travestying the outer reaches from MySpace”, “is causing an adolescent exodus”, and “proliferation of Parents”. In the second passage, exaggeration is done mainly through the usage of bold words like “instant gratification”, “rewiring the brain”, and “conversation may eventually give away”. This exaggeration helps the writer highlight and enhance an argument without having to make it too complex.

The most distinctive way that both passages are different is the type and the use of figurative language. In passage A, some jargons are used here and there, “facebook”, ”MySpace” along with one or two metaphors “their love of being online”, “explosion behind the usage of twitter”. A personification is used “kill a youth trend”, and “adopt as its own”. Besides that, the writers helps us visualize a few things through relatable examples, such as, “uncles wearing skinny jeans”, and “mothers investing in rah-rah skirts”. Other than this, no such figurative language is used. In passage B, however, different types of figurative language are used. An old idiom is used, “strive a chord” as well as “buzzing” which is an onomatopoeia, and “flight or fight”, which is alliteration/assonance. In the first passage, figurative language is used to make the flow of reading easier and interesting for the reader, but in passage B, figurative language is used only to emphasize a particular phrase, e.g. :”most games only trigger flight or fight” “part of the brain”.

Both of the writer’s aim was to persuade the reader that using the Social Media can be harmful. The writers have used relatable examples and figurative language to amplify the arguments, and uses factual elements such as evidence, statistics, and expert opinions to remove any doubts from the reader’s mind. Both of the passages manage to persuade the reader, if not varying in tone, style and vocabulary. When analyzing both the passages, one must appreciate the diversity with which one can present two topics.

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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