“New Information Communicative Civilization”: English, Russian And Computer-Mediated Communication


The article focuses on computer-mediated communication as a new form of an information communicative civilization that forces people to live under its laws, it puts forward new statements, norms, requirements and values. The authors study interaction of the “natural” language and the language of virtual environment and underlines transformation of the language and its consequences in the internet environment. Transmission of off-line communication into virtual environment, into online communication changes not only the process of communication but generates a special language and brings new challenges that create real threat to security both to the individual in particular, and to society in general. The fact that the language of virtual communication in any separately taken country is not equal to the language of real, offline communication, out of network one is discussed. Additional characteristics and features of the language of virtual environment are mentioned and the place of the English language in the internet communication is discussed. The influence of national languages on the development of the language of virtual environment is illustrated on the example of the Russian language. External and internal reasons of linguistic transformations are concluded. Global English as a contemporary lingua social phenomenon is discussed. Complex methodology and inter disciplinary approach are applied.



Rapid development of ICT created the base and promoted emergence of a new type of communication - computer-mediated communication that may also be interpreted as an electronically mediated communication or digitally mediated communication. This communication leads to globalization and transformation, both the system of communication and communicative experience of the individual. (Duggan, 2014)

It is difficult to imagine the life of a modern human been without communication with the help of modern ICT. The modern person does not think of the life without chats, network diaries, social networks, electronic correspondence, etc. (Abdurazakov & et. al, 2017).

The virtual environment has not generated the "Virtual" language but it is aggressively borrowing national languages for its existence by mixing them with the English language. The process of communication that is first considered as an oral one, in virtual environment it has mostly written realization.

It should be noted that on the one hand, from the live-speech a great number of colloquial, slang, dialect forms and grammatical deviations from linguistic norms gets to virtual-environment-language, on the other hand, we observe the reverse process at which the slang elements of virtual environment get into the live-speech.

The computer mediated communication as a phenomenon has its pluses and minuses, challenges and solutions. It demands mandatory and permanent regulation which includes not only technical but also ethical moments.

Problem Statement

The research is intended to distinguish the scale of computer-mediated communication and show the possibility of the English language the carry out the role of lingua franca. Special attention is paid to typical and universal aspects of the language in virtual reality in the research.

Research Questions

This peculiar information civilization forces people to live under its laws; it puts forward new statements, norms, requirements and values. Thus, the interest to theoretical judgment of the challenges of internet communication arises.

Transmission of off-line communication into virtual environment into online communication changes not only the process of communication but generates special language and brings new challenges that create real threat to security both to the individual in particular, and to society in general. A person is placed into new virtual conditions of communication but faces with real problems. (Chusavitina & Zerkina, 2015, p.516-517)These conditions actively influence on both communicators and the language in general, on its system and hierarchy.

It is difficult to deny the fact that the internet language is closely connected with the English language, and it is logical because of the status of the English language as the language of international communication and because of the fact that the Internet was created in the English-speaking country. Thus, at the stage of origin and formation the Internet "lived" only in the English language and English-speaking space that is why English-language terminology (interface, monitor, flash card etc.) dominates in the Internet, and, therefore, the English language forces users to reckon with it.

Purpose of the Study

  • To study the term "communication” and its transformation into computer-mediated communication;

  • to underline features of virtual communication;

  • to state adaptation of the language to technical capabilities of virtual environment;

  • to illustrate external and internal reasons of language transformation;

  • to prove the leading role of the English language in virtual communication.

Research Methods

In studying the matter, we follow the point of view of researchers who consider that integrated approach is necessary for drawing up a complete picture of speech communication and defining its new form – the virtual communication.

This approach will allow generalizing of what has been already reached by linguistic sciences, methodology of those sciences that traditionally cover basics of the concepts and problems that are most significant for the person.

The computer-mediated communication has already become an essential part of our life and has changed it. Scientists of the different directions seriously think of elaboration of a new linguistic direction – Internet Linguistics that will study features of the computer mediated language, digital communication and its perception by society at the present stage, a special functional kind of language – the language serving electronic and digital means of communication.

Just from the beginning, Internet Linguistics studies motivation of human behavior while working with computer systems (human-computer interaction) which, in turn, led to computer-mediated communication or internet-mediated communication. Experts recognize that the traditional Linguistics plays a major role in formation Internet Linguistics, especially concerning perception of the web interface. Studying of the developing language of the Internet allows providing of further development of online environment and can help not only linguists, but also users.

Because of its novelty, methodological experience of philological and humanitarian researches is used for studying of this phenomenon. Nevertheless, special tools with the use of digital technologies are formed currently.

The nature of this type of communication is difficult, non-uniform, and comprehensive study of the computer-mediated communication demands knowledge from linguistics, humanities and information scientists. Thus, interdisciplinary research should be undertaken.


Computer-Mediated Communication

Since the beginning of the 20th century the term "communication" is actively used in scientific literature in the meaning as “means of communication of objects” and as “a sociocultural process of exchange of information in society”.

Computer mediated communication is actively considered by different sciences: linguistics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, etc.

Communication is not only a need of the person but also an important component of human life, a way of organizing their social interaction.

The computer- mediated communication represents the new social reality that is self-regulating and functions by the rules and laws.

Modern ICT, the increase of computer literacy within society transform not only the lifestyle, but also the language in general and communication in particular. Nowadays the greater part of communication takes place in virtual environment that brings qualitative changes into the process and particularly into its linguistic part. Modern philological challenges are concentrated in the area of contact between a man and a machine that is why in recent years linguistic interpretation of the virtual world is of particular relevance. (Zerkina & et al., 2016; Zerkina & Lomakina, 2016)

Virtual communication is a communicative interaction of subjects of communication that is carried out by means of the computer or other IT devices.

While communicating the special model of reality is created that is characterized by an effect of personal presence in it and it allows to work with the imagined and real objects.

Virtual communication as the mediated communication is carried out by means of the computer or other IT devices through the Internet. There are several approaches to the description of the phenomenon "the Internet".

The World Wide Web or WWW is considered as information technology, a psycho sociological phenomenon, a community and the universal database. This concept is represented as the special sphere of communication. It is necessary to analyze virtual communication in the terms of verbal communication.

Transformation of Language in Internet Environment

The language has a specific place in human life, during the Era of Digital Technologies it has become not only a means of communication, but also a tool for creating of virtual reality. Artificial languages of programming are only technological means thanks to which the Internet functions, but in the virtual community, the original languages of the audience are natural languages of users.

The language adapts to technical capabilities of virtual environment, it becomes the main tool for the new communicative environment in which all specifics characters of its use are reflected. (Abdurazakov & et al, 2016)

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks new lexicon extends very quickly. For example, English to google – Russian to google, загуглить, гуглить, German - googeln.

New lexis loans are mainly represented with the words that are formed by abbreviation, blending, shortening, contraction etc. Modern linguistic researches are oriented on practical and pragmatic implementation. Informational overload made people use abbreviations in different spheres and levels of communication. Abbreviations illustrate synergetic processes that are connected with self-organization both in language and in communicative systems (Kostina & et al., 2016, p.745)

As a rule, in not English-speaking discourse, from the English root new words are formed, – English to ban – Russian бан - забанить ; English to post, to repost – Russian пост, запостить, репостнуть), wordplay– often on the basis of the foreign-language words and the words of the slangy character. E.g. English icon - " иконка " = пиктограммы =pictograms, the use of words in English-language graphics with the combination of the Russian graphics – HTML - формат, web-общение, web-сайт. Individual word coins is noted by formation of derivatives based on the transcribed loans. English likes лайки, лайкнуть.

These changes are so transient that the word, which appeared last year, can become outdated this year. Changes of grammar goes towards ignoring of grammar rules, simplification of forms, ellipticity.

The following reasons are included into the first group – external one:

- Unimpeded creation of the text and lack of editing, and it is frequent censorships in the internet environment. Not competent and sometimes even illiterate users can be authors of the materials in the Internet. Such great number of "amateur writers" leads to ignoring literary norms, breaking rules of word combination, mixture of styles, introduction and promoting of professionalism, contamination by jargons.

- Expansion of communication opportunities in time and in space, the possibility of written commenting in real time leads to strengthening of dialogue and interactivity.

- The possibility of storing and quick transferring of huge volumes of digital information, implementation of multimedia (audio, video, online communication)

The following reasons are included to the second group – internal one:

- Increasing in quantity of Anglicism, “carbon paper” translations, transliterations from English; For example, он-лайн – on line, офф-лайн – off line, линк - link, подкаст - podcast, etc.

- Increasing in quantity of abbreviations, occasionals; game elements, that leads to a deliberate distortion of spelling (erratives, merge of separate words), non-verbal signs (smilies and emoticons), a combination of punctuation signs as substitutes of words. For example, Славаблогу! sms, )), :(. (Polidiskursivnoeprostranstvo: slovo, tekst, kommunikatsiya, 2017, p. 36-50; Kostina & et al., 2015); Pesina & et al., 2015)

The special form, a kind of situational caused by the Russian-speaking slang was registered in the internet environment as "Olbanian" – a cant language developed by a subculture of Runet “padonki” that is characterized by deliberate violation of language norms and tends an exit out of the virtual environment framework. For example, Аффтаржжот!; Ржунимагу. “Social factors influencing language and functioning of the linguistic units include factors determined by the reflection in the language cognitive, aesthetiс, moral, and ideological sides of the language bearer’s life” (Zerkina & et al., 2018)

- Infinity and boundlessness of the text thanks to hyperlinks and an opportunity for the user to create their own text by means of references.

- Semantic shifts in word meaning, mainly generalization. For example, a post = a massage (English post – to send by mail, to inform, give full information, etc.) in the internet a discourse it means, "To leave the message in group, a chat"

Thus, "As well as any other phenomenon borrowed by virtual environment from real one, the language acquires additional characteristics and features. For example, unlike real environment, the speech of virtual environment has only written realization. It means that it excludes additional connotative shades, which can be expressed by a mimicry, emotions, behavior speaking, etc., but it has compensatory opportunities in the form of smilies and pictograms. Moreover, communication of virtual environment abounds pragmatically painted particles, expressing arrogance, skepticalness in relation to the addressee, reproach, disappointment, doubt in truthfulness of the addressee, irritation, threat. There is no real possibility of visual assessment of communicants in communication in virtual environment. It often happens that behind avatars there are not those who are depicted. A hypothetical opportunity not be recognized provokes communication which in real, visual situation people are not able to afford because of social norms, morals and the subsequent punishment ".(Zerkina & Lomakina, 2016)

Place of the English Language in Internet Communication

The language of virtual communication in any separately taken country is not equal to the language of real communication, out of network, offline. The absence of any territorial borders leads to the fact that one of the main features of functioning of the natural language in the Internet is the direct contact of the national language with a set of other languages of the world. After all, the national language interacts with the English language most closely as the homeland of the Internet and the chief supplier of network terminology is English-speaking country –the United States of America. This interaction has led to the fact that in many national internet segments there is a situation of bilingualism (Ermakova, 2012)

According to the statistics, 75% of the world mail is written in English, about 80% of information, which is stored on electronic media,is written down in English. Despite the fact that now more than one thousand languages are used in the network, most likely, that influence of English will increase as it plays an important role in the software. As D. Cristal ironically noticed, the essential obstacle to global distribution of English could arise in the previous generation if Chinese was the native language of Bill Gates (Crystal, 2011, p.2).

Perhaps, now we are observing the ‘birth’ of a new type of Global English - Global English of virtual environment. Though the English language has been changed throughout many centuries and under the influence of many factors (political, economic, social, cultural, etc.), but not anyone of them (factors) cannot compete with the digital technologies neither in speed, nor in scale of modification.

Nowadays many scientists and native speakers express fears that the English language will be transformed to unrecognizability thanks to the Internet, and the process of globalization will considerably increase in rates. Even now, linguists find a number of differences between the English language of native speakers – the British, and the English language as a means of international communication – Global Language that is studied in large quantities, mainly, according to the same authentic textbooks in all points of the world.

Global English is the phenomenon, which is perceived not unambiguously from a position of "language and culture are different sides of the same coin". Whose culture does Global English verbalize?

The positive moment of this process is that world scale knowledge of English provides natural desire of people about mutual understanding in "world scale".

T. MacArthur says that distribution of different kinds of English (dialects, variants) will lead to division into new modern languages and in this case English is expected with the fate of Latin. (McArthur, 1998).


From the point of view of a scale, computer-mediated communication is mass type of communication. Because of the fact that it is the communication with the whole world it is intra communication but at the same time, it is personal one as it is a type of communication between the user and the computer. It is also a group communication because it is a type of communication between groups of people.

The language is placed in new conditions into the new communicative environment, undergoes changes of large-scale and global:

- The shift of accents towards written realization of the language that leads to simplification of a written form of the language though historically the spoken language always was simpler, than the written one;

- Borrowings from others sign systems into the linguistics units as compensatory elements (figure, pictograms, smilies and etc.);

- Changing of the language format under the influence of multimedia, (existence of references, hyperlinks, augmented reality, etc.);

- The language turns into the content with the high degree of a creolization and interactivity,

-The language acquires a certain set of grammatical and lexical characteristics and practically loses phonetics that is compensated by paralinguistic means (pictograms, smilies);

- The interaction of the English language with the other languages generates new forms of communication between representatives of different cultures, the mixture leads to formation of new stylistic forms, which can be borrowed by other cultures subsequently.

"Occupation" of virtual environment by the English language proves again its claim for a role of lingua franca , (the language of the international communication, which is applied practically in all spheres of human life and society).

The present situation with the English language is unique. There is no any language but English that has managed to gain such wide usage for a short period.


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21 September 2018

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Zerkina, N. N., Savinova, Y. A., Lukina, O. A., & Pikalova, E. A. (2018). “New Information Communicative Civilization”: English, Russian And Computer-Mediated Communication. In S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 46. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 852-859). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.09.02.100