McLuhan, in his time, defined the spaces, including oral space, visual space, and electronic space. The spaces are defined by the primary way in which humans receive and send information in the world. McLuhan states that each of these spaces also have specific connotations due to the spaces they occupy, thus the medium, the space, becomes the message. The social and cultural changes which come from the space cannot be separated from the works which occupy those spaces (McLuhan).
Currently, we are coming into the digital space. Content in the form of news, life updates, entertainment, and much more are now available to us through the digital space. The message of the digital space is the changes in communication, globalization, and shared experiences. The internet has led to immense changes in communication. Rather than people communicating because they are bound by space, communications the internet is bound by topics, regardless of space. The ability to communicate with people around the world has given way for globalization of culture (Dentzel). People from different places can create shared experiences due to the ease of communication over the internet.
The internet has a few main affordance that are not available otherwise. First, the internet allows the combination oral and visual space to become commonplace. The digital space allows for widespread creation and sharing of time based art on platforms such as Vimeo and Youtube. This was available previously in film, however, the digital age has allowed creation and sharing of time based media to become more accessible and popular. In addition, the digital space allows for interactivity, on pages and between pages. The internet gives way for people to click, download, remix, and edit. We are living in an open source culture, where everything is built upon and rapid change is made everyday.
Culture is divided into distinct layers. The first layer of culture are basic assumptions, which include relationship to environment, nature of reality, time & space, nature of human nature, nature of human activity, and nature of human relationships. These characteristics of culture are subconscious, they are ingrained in us. The second layer is our values, these characteristics of culture are chosen by us. The third layer is artifacts and creations, including visible & audible behavior, patterns, technology, and art (Spencer-Oatly).
Culture is the manifestation of our actions through our verbal and physical behaviors and creations. These are called material and non-material culture. Material culture, is just that, physical objects that humans create and endow meaning upon. Non-material culture manifest in the form abstract ideas, such as laws, social castes, and values (Long-Crowell). Material culture manifests in the form of objects such as art, clothing, and food. This project will be examine nonmaterial cultures and changes in nonmaterial culture, primarily in the United States.
Noam Chomsky, revered linguist, believed that grammar is innate in each of us. This knowledge of grammar allows us to learn languages. Other linguists were highly skeptical of this theory. In a recent study done by the New York University, scientists discovered that the brain responded differently to sentences than they did to lists of words when spoken in different languages (Dovey). According to Chomsky, the understanding of grammar and syntax is part of our biology, just as much as is walking, or the fight or flight instinct. With this understanding of grammar, we are able to communicate fluently in our given languages.
This innate understanding of grammar is applied to all languages, verbal, visual, gestural, and oral. We understand a series if sequences in a code in relation to the syntax if the language. Our mutual understanding of a language is due to the fact that language is reflective and defining of concrete truths within our world. The relation between word, thought, and objects is established in the semantic triangle. All language is rooted in the objects, or subjects within the world. The second step to language is the thought, or intention. Lastly, comes the word itself (“Business Communication for Success”). It is the reader, viewer, and/or listeners job to receive, understand, and process what is being communicated.
Language evolves, the objects stay the same. Language is forever shifting and mutating. Word means change based upon fads and popular culture. Language can be gestural, oral, visual, and/or written (“Business Communication for Success”). However, language follows the innate grammar that Chomsky theorized in the 60’s, as well as the semantic triangle which dictates computation from object, to thought, to the expression of those thoughts as gestures, sounds, or symbols. Language is what separates humans from animals. Language has allowed humans to evolve into the global society which exists today (Fitch 1).