The purpose of the article is to identify the characteristics of the speech environment of modern youth (family, school, university), explaining the causes of its specificity and consequences in the formation of speech personality. Internet that now occupies a huge segment of the communicative space of our society and promptly transmits enormous streams of information. However, it also poses a great threat: it teaches us to react responsively, rather than to think. The insufficient presence of lively dialogue that stimulates communication and acquisition of new knowledge in the speech environment of young people, the lack of interest in reading the texts of classics of fiction lead to irreparable losses in the field of communicative interaction. The passion for schools to improve the performance of the Unified State Exam leads to the fact that less attention is paid to the formation of the schoolchildren’s skills to talk, think, and reflect in a coherent way. Media, demonstrating the alleged freedom of opinion, accustom to the irresponsibility of self-expression, rudeness, broadcast alien views to the Russian culture. Universities have high hopes for online courses, which, of course, solve the problem of information accessibility, but have a significant drawback - they deprive of live communication. The uncontrolled substitution of Russian words for Anglicisms leads to the rupture of the space continuity of our own language, we lose its spiritual framework, and the resulting lacunae are filled with jargon, slang and obscene vocabulary.
Human speech environment is speech of those around him. First of all, these are people with direct informal or official communication. Secondly, these are those with whom communication is carried out using the telephone or social networks. Thirdly, it is more complex speech interaction with books, Internet sources, radio, TV, etc. All these contacts form a speech personality and the whole youth group of the society, its usus.
The ability of a person to communicate with the help of language is the main achievement of humanity, and this ability, or rather, the very means of it - the language, does not stop changing (Nesset, 2015). At first there was only oral speech, and hence the immediacy of communication. With the invention of writing, written speech appeared, which has the ability to overcome spatial separation and time. Now a new sphere of communication has actually been formed - the Internet, and an Internet speech in it.
The information age influences people's speech behavior. It is the Internet that now occupies a huge segment of the communicative space of our society and promptly transmits huge streams of diverse information, but it also poses a great threat, since it makes us the communication participants, the users of language, and not its native speakers, it teaches us to react, rather than to think.
This article explores the speech of modern youth in the family, school and university. Family is the basic society unit, and therefore the most important social value. School is an educational institution for general education, which all children must attend. University is a higher education institution where specialists in the basic and applied sciences are trained. Young people, having a tendency to research activities, wishing to improve their educational level in order to realize their abilities and career growth, go there.
The article addresses the following issues:
1. What are the features of the speech environment in the family in terms of communication with the younger generation?
2. What are the features of the school speech environment?
3. What are the features of the university speech environment?
4. What are the common features of the speech environment of the modern youth in the social institutions studied?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the article is to identify the characteristics of the speech environment of the modern youth, explaining the reasons for its specificity and consequences in the formation of speech personality.
The analysis of the speech environment is carried out “through the prism of the discursive environment”. That is, within these institutions, even if not only family, school, university topics are implemented in them. The attention was given to the participants of communication, their age, level of education, ways to interaction of the speech environment with the speech of young people in the changing roles of the addresser and the addressee, the conditions of communication in a broad cultural and social context, and much more that is called "convoy".
In all these social institutions, the civil-patriotic and moral-moral component, necessary for the upbringing and socialization of the younger generation, is an essential component for the survival of society. Therefore, the broad cultural aspect of the analysis from the point of view of the laws of cognition is the important methodological principle.
Human socialization, mastering the native language, the formation of culture, including speech, begins in the family. Family is a kind of standard for many people, a reference point, a source of awareness of social norms and values. Family communication can be called the first communicative practice, and the most complex science of human life in the community is mastered since childhood, the speech is formed under the influence of family usus (Tribushinina, Vorikova, & Noccetti, 2015).
It should be noted that in many modern families there is a non-indifference to family speech, as evidenced, for example, by reflexive patterns: Don’t talk like that; You shouldn’t swear; Don’t scream; Watch your language; Select expressions; Say thank you etc.
In modern conditions, family is experiencing a state of social degradation: negative trends in the destruction of marriages, the increase in the number of single-parent families and single people, the decline in interest in children birth, the decline in parental authority (Abela & Walker, 2014; Andreeva, 2014; Segrin & Flora, 2018). It implements a constrained, or forced communication, where the courtesy threshold is lowered; speech etiquette is formed, sometimes significantly different from the national family standard; speech emancipation of the speakers, their desire to speak as you want, and not as you should. The infantilization of the generation of “zero” and “tenth” years is expressed in the fact that many young people do not show independence, are prone to egoism, egocentrism (which is noticeable both in behavior and in speech), dependency, and various addictions; the creation of a family is postponed to a later date. Nomokonov (2013) believes that “in the world of the market and consumerism, a person positions himself as a consumer of family services” (p. 127). The time spent by a person in the family locus, the time of joint work for the common good is reduced, but it is increased by communication on the social networks of the Internet, computer games, and watching television. As a result, there is a weakening of family ties and developing of escapism (escape, salvation from reality).
It is easier for young people to build relationships and communicate in a virtual environment than in a real one. There are numerous statements on Internet forums, such as: (punctuation and spelling are preserved) I feel severe loneliness, and it especially intensifies in the evening <...> Family life went wrong. No emotional bond with my husband. I cannot share with him my experiences, emotions, events of my day. Nothing but estrangement and cold <...> I can’t live like this anymore. I just have no one to talk to. Those who had a similar situation, have you resigned or made a drastic decision? Talk to me, tell your story? (https://deti.mail.ru/forum/semejnye_otnoshenija/semja_i_semejnye_otnoshenija); My husband gives me strange advice. When I am sick, I go to the doctors, I take the medicine which is necessary, but my husband argues my illness in a different way <..> Has anyone’s husband behaved like that?(https://mamapedia.com.ua/forum/semeinie-otnosenia/semia-i-otnoshenia/muzh-i-soviety-9281.html). The reactions to this post are interesting and symptomatic: Is your husband a doctor? If not, then don’t listen to him<...>Don’t listen to anyone's advice this is your life and your health (https://mamapedia.com.ua/forum/semeinie-otnosenia/semia-i-otnoshenia/muzh-i-soviety-9281.html).
Modern media also contribute to the destruction of family ties: the most intimate and unattractive details of the lives of ordinary people and media personalities are constantly exaggerated on central television channels in the programs that go on prime time. Such programs become broadcasters of the most disgusting scenes of family relationships and speech behavior for country population.
Different families form their own speech and ethical traditions, primarily due to their social composition and the type of speech culture of the members (Baykulova, 2014; Riskogennost’ sovremennoi kommunikatsii i rol' kommunikativnoi kompetentnosti v ee preodolenii, 2015). The family sphere itself contributes to the state of relaxation of communicants, reducing concern for the form of expression of thought, indiscriminate use of language means; no particular concern for the addressee of speech, the design of the genre (Mustajoki, 2012; Blum-Kulka, 2012). As a result, this often leads to conflict.
In modern school, preparation for the Unified State Examination continues to be the leading part in teaching Russian and some other subjects. Preparation for the Unified State Examination means such a format of learning for the lessons of the Russian language, when practically every lesson acquires certain language and speech facts through the elaboration of examination materials of previous years (often in the form of testing). Teaching how to use the language well and correctly, to communicate effectively in different situations leaves much to be desired.
The activity approach to learning proclaimed a few years ago at school had the consequence of a certain activation of the methods and techniques that form an active linguistic personality. For example, one of the important tasks of the recently introduced elective courses in the Russian language is the development of school students’ speech abilities – the ability to be convincing, accurate, expressive (see: Russian Business Language; Expressive Resources Morphology; We Build the Text as we Build the House). However, quite often these courses are given to prepare for the Unified State Exam (see the popular elective course name on the Internet: Russian Language in the format of USE).
Passion of schools to higher the Unified State Exam passing rate has led our schools to a disappointing outcome – children no longer speak or think coherently in the classroom, especially at the Russian language lessons. And here, of course, mobile communication and the Internet play their part.
Schools are trying to get rid of the excessive influence of the World Wide Web: in many of them the use of phones in the classroom is prohibited. Let us show how children will act if they have access to the Internet and if they don’t. In the textbook "Russian Native Language" (Aleksandrova, 2018), in Ex. 187 the task is proposed: Read the statements. Name the authors whose literary works became the sources of these statements.
The following are phrases from the works of famous Russian writers and Reference materials, where these authors are listed. What will children do if they have phones? The answer is obvious: they’ll take advantage of quick access to the answer. And if not? – They will try to guess the author using the capabilities of their own memory, according to the features of the above phrases, their vocabulary, intonation, semantic and intentional features embedded in them.
In recent years, school students’ essays are not written, but often are rewritten from an arsenal of ready-made ones. Rigid templates are used for this creative genre, any deviations are fraught with a decrease in the estimated score. Workbooks and tests where it is only necessary to insert missing letters, endings, suffixes, etc. become widespread.
With such a “point” work with the language, the possibility of forming the moral “frame” of the nation, of all of Russia, through it is lost. Here is a small fragment from Nosov's (1961) story “The Forest Host”, in which the picture of a nature corner is painted, the description is based on the associations with paintings by the great Russian artists and the museum building. These associations create a single linguistic picture of the world around us, and the loss of such connections leads to the loss of the “self”, roots, and foundations of life:
I am also pleased with the upcoming meeting with the forest. I go, like to an art gallery, to take another look at familiar canvases, which golden autumn exposes every year <...> At the very edge of the forest in the thickets of cross-leaved heath flashed a lake with dark water of the strong-brewed-tea color. Its surface is covered with colored mosaic of leaves brought in by the wind <...> This is Polenov. (Nosov, 1961, p.119)
The philological analysis of the texts of the national heritage, unfortunately, is rare for the school lessons in language and literature that are engaged in preparing for the USE.
As a result, we have consequences that are demonstrated by the following typical verbal duel of a representative of the older generation and young people typical of our time. The dialogue between the professor of philology and a group of high school students and the Law Academy students who organized “outdoor activities” at night in the summer cottage with a cacophony of sounds, obscene vocabulary, animal screams, ended in a victory for the young, as they opposed the arguments of the linguist based on the moral principles of the community, their own (where the concepts of conscience, respect and modesty are semantic lacunae (Myaksheva, 2016)): the dachas are not registered as residential buildings, so any court will justify us, if you want to sleep this night - leave for the city.
The media widely discusses the “joke” from the Comedy Woman show addressed to the celebrated Soviet general, Dmitry Karbyshev. Let us quote this fragment from the show: A chill on the back. - No, this is the frozen spirit of General Karbyshev. He came up behind and hugged you. Only unconscious people can afford such mockery.
Introduction to school, probably in 2019-2020 school year, of the new discipline "Russian native language" is, of course, timely and relevant, since the first place among its tasks is the implementation of the cumulative, culture-saving function of the language. But unfortunately, this discipline may not fit into the school environment, where there is a strong dependence on the need to prepare for the Unified State Exam.
In the university, of course, the main speech space is occupied by the educational and scientific field. The use of the mobile Internet here, as in school, significantly affects the formation of speech communication skills. Let us give some examples of speech short comings in the written works of students: I think that, thanks to its linguistic means, the reader will take the side of Russia; The polemical outcome in the presented example was not achieved due to the lack of politeness; The rhetorical question is used to increase the problem. Most of these shortcomings are connected with the violations of the lexical-semantic compatibility of words and are due to the lack of knowledge of their exact meanings and peculiarities of use in the utterance. Compatibility and choice of an exact word are influenced by its environment, the general meaning of the phrase, the communicative intention of the speaker, the background knowledge of the speaker and the listener, their language experience, and the specific speech situation (Brown, 1987; Goffman, 1972).
With insufficient knowledge of norms, unformed skills and abilities to use a language, it is impossible to realize the main goal of communication – a clear understanding of what reality is hidden behind the chosen words and constructions, what author thought they convey to the addressee. It is difficult to expect meaningful communication without this understanding (Miloslavskiy, 2013). Unfortunately, sometimes student statements, even completely correct in form, are absolutely empty from the content point of view. There is no meaning behind such statements: A question title implies a question mark; With the help of these constructions, the journalist brings the narration back to a certain point in order to reveal a certain statement in details.
Students used to ask lecturers many questions, now is it gone. Instead of listening and recording what is needed in the notebook with a pen, they turn on the voice recorder. At that time they are busy with something else, trying, even in interactive moments, to go to the blackboard with a mobile phone in their palm and answer while looking at its screen. Mental effort is saved, speech suffers, and, even worse, the unused brain neurons atrophy (the neurologists raise alarm).
Of course, no one is able to keep all the riches of a language in the brain (why should one remember 7-8 synonyms to the word очень when the Russian National Corpus instantly gives out more than a hundred words. It is true that you should choose the right one for a certain case, but why spend energy and time, and the students list everything). However, how should we require students to use accuracy when unacceptable compatibility is found even in the articles of linguists in the most authoritative journal “Voprosy jazykoznanija”? Voluntarily or unwittingly people become oriented on the speech in mass media, which, despite the requirements of the legislation, contains numerous mistakes. The research by both Russian and foreign scientists is devoted to the issue of influence media has on speech (Coupland, 2016; Hutchby, 2006; Tolson, 2006).
In many works of modern researchers students' speech in informal situation is considered to contain down-to-earth, reduced vocabulary, slangisms and jargon. The functions of such words are studied, and expressive function is frequently mentioned among them. These strata are also used for self-presentation, for the desire to stand out (Rosen, 2007).
For example, entertainment media content from the Internet, such as pictures with humorous inscriptions and popular videos, have a great influence on students’ speech. Media content becomes a source of words and expressions, and even gestures, which are strongly included in the everyday speech of students and their non-verbal communication. They become a part of communication in the youth environment and function as markers of the “friend-foe” category (Chiaro, 2017). Among the school students such content is less common since children speak English, a guide to this content, much worse. Fans of computer games, or gamers (from the English word “game”), easily identify the “insiders” and begin to communicate in social networks: “kristiiin<...> ty v lol gamaesh'?” (lol is a transliterated abbreviation of the name of a computer game, gamaesh' – distorted from English “game”). Fans of musical battles (from the English work “battle, duel”) can increase the emotional comfort of the interlocutor with a simple, but capacious “easy-easy” (from the English word “easy” - “take it easy, relax”).
The general modern state of youth speech culture, of course, is alarming and has led to the organization of a special rubric “Russian Language”, within the framework of the newspaper “Saratovskiy universitet” and the student magazine “SGUshchenka”. The authors of this rubric are the students and teachers of the Department of the Russian Language, Speech Communication, and Russian as a Foreign Language of the Saratov State University. Problems of speech culture are discussed here, and students began to notice the imperfections of their speech, for example, the habit of using phrases like чекни мне (“lend me some money”) not only in online speech, but also in their real communication; replacing Russian words with English, which they themselves report: (Anastasiya, 23) In my company I say one second please. And in social networks I write it in Russian letters or send a smiley; (Victor, 21) I say let’s go instead of “poshli”; It's time to rest. It’s wrong, of course, but I still speak like that, mixing language. But there is another attitude towards the ecology of the language: (Kirill, 20) I plead for “korm” instead of food; (Julia, 18) I think this is vulgar. There is nothing more beautiful than the Russian dialect.
It is indisputable that the dominance of Anglicisms undermines the distinctiveness of the Russian language. Often, in a student’s environment, one can hear that it is difficult to express thoughts in Russian and one has to use borrowed words. This fact points to the degree of penetration of Anglicisms into the consciousness of young people and insufficient knowledge of the riches of the native language lexicon.
Opinion given by Kostomarov (2018): “People who use language as a means of communication, and through it thinking, consciousness, spirituality, memory, morality, become a means of developing the language without even noticing it” (p. 54), - seems to us only partly true. Language as a means of communication, imperceptibly for us, people, is formed by clip thinking, lack of spirituality, unconsciousness and immorality. First of all, it is noticeable in the youth speech, which is more susceptible to changes.
Inadequate presence of a lively dialogue, stimulating the acquisition of new knowledge, in the speech environment of modern youth and the lack of interest in reading the texts of the classical literature lead to irreversible losses in the field of communicative interaction. Only a lively dialogue and knowledge of the nation’s spiritual heritage enrich both sides of the communication. At school, this is due to the influence of the Unified State Exam. In all the social institutions studied, the mobile phone for young people is a continuation of the hand, the necessary information is drawn from it, and they watch movies, read and listen to books, and communicate through it. The mobile Internet has become an accessible and fast conductor of media texts that, demonstrating supposed freedom of opinion, accustom to the irresponsibility of self-expression, rudeness, broadcast views alien and even hostile to Russian culture. In the universities, where high hopes are placed on online courses, which, of course, solve the problem of accessibility of information, remove the issue of regulating classes in time, but have a significant drawback – they deprive live communication.
As a result of existence of the tempting opportunity to find the necessary information not through the application of one’s own mental efforts, but on the Internet, an atrophy of the ability to think and the death of brain cells occurs.
The uncontrolled substitution of Russian words for Anglicisms in certain spheres and thematic classes taken out of the context of the national environment leads to the rupture of the space continuity of our own language. We lose its spiritual framework, and the resulting lacunae are filled with slang and obscene language. Swearing on the street (and often in the family - the most important social value of society!), and not only from the mouth of young people, has become common.
The linguists assessing the current state of the Russian language use the metaphor of corrosion. Let us continue this metaphor with the following reflection. Corrosion occurs not due to internal causes (wear, abrasion, etc.), but due to the influence of an external, aggressive environment. This means that in order to combat corrosion, “surface insulation” is necessary.
In order for the Russian language to become, in the words of S. E. Naryshkin, “the soft power” for the growth of Russia’s authority and role in the world (as cited in Kostomarov, 2018), the state must pursue a strict policy of control over the implementation of laws, particularly the Law on the Russian literary language as the State language of the Russian Federation, which before our eyes turns into the law on the official language of international communication isolated from the literary on the principles of comprehensibility, unemotionality and accessibility.
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30 September 2019
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Bots, T. S., Baikulova, A. N., Kormilitsyna, M. A., Sirotinina, O. B., & Myaksheva*, O. V. (2019). Speech Environment Of Modern Youth: Family, School, University. In S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 574-582). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.02.65