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Literacy Practices in Different Contexts

Maintaining one’s language is an essential part of developing as a person. A child or an adult in a foreign country may acquire spoken language skills without much effort, but writing and reading are deliberate processes that require full attention and certain techniques. Literacy is honed depending on the setting and circumstances, with some being strict about language use and others allowing more flexibility. This paper will discuss literacy practices in different contexts and analyze their potential shifts.

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A person is likely to start their language learning journey at home. While I do not remember all details of my parents teaching me to read or write, I recall that they used simplified language, which was simultaneously correct. They might have implemented simple activities that are easy to guide and predict but still follow set rules (Puranik et al. 230). As I matured, the need to constantly communicate with proper language gradually decreased, and various reminders, notes, and shopping lists became full of abbreviations and negligible punctuation. However, it seemed like a natural progression, and everything was still understandable. Overall, home literacy practices shift as a person grows, changing from more formal but simple forms to a plain language that is sensible within the family context.

School was the main setting where I felt that it was actively promoting literacy, and it happened in almost all activities. It was not only the English class that insisted on being literate; it is any subject that required me to read and write. The language of the assignments was rigid, as they had certain criteria that could punish me for grammar, punctuation, and other mistakes, in addition to not following the structure and content components. Thus, I always felt self-aware about my language use while at school and doing tasks for it. On the other hand, the setting presents an opportunity for students to communicate as well. I rarely engaged it in, but my classmates would write notes to each other, and the language they used was flexible. Some students used proper language while others preferred modern teenage slang and popular expressions from the Internet. Altogether, while the school setting is mostly rigid, literacy practices shift to more informal ones in the student-to-student context.

I imagine that as a person graduates and finds a job that requires the acquired skills and abilities, they may discover that not much changed compared to school. Reading and writing remain important, although the genres for those activities might expand (Moore et al. 33). The same formal qualifications still apply, although an employee might not have a rubric to help them (Moore et al. 33). I will not need a daunting teacher to use language properly, as there will be other important incentives. As it was in school, informal written communication with colleagues will probably also occur, allowing for less restricted language usage. It will probably remain mostly formal, blending with business reports and correspondence, as supervision is possible. Overall, workplace literacy practices might not be different from those at school, including informal instances, but they also require more self-control and awareness.

I cannot comment on literacy practices on the playing field, but I have some experience with video games that provide an opportunity for them. Most online ones have a chat function that allows communication with other players. Those can be private, general, reserved for a certain group, and so on. It is interesting to see how long formal announcements clash with short messages with emoticons, modern slang, and a game-specific vocabulary. Sometimes the chat shows proper language posts by users, and the replies can vary from equally structured to utterly simplified. It is the absence of any regulations, unless swearing and hate speech are concerned, that allows for such a mash-up to happen.

Communication with friends is, perhaps, the most favorable sphere for experimentation with language. Unless the situation dictates to be precise and formal, most of the interactions are lax. I feel free to use slang, abbreviations, and even invent new words, which amuses my friends and enriches conversations. I mostly do them through chats or messengers that enable instant and constant written exchanges. As my friends and I can speak several languages, we tend to add words from one language to a conversation that mostly happens in another. However, we do not necessarily perceive those as being out of literacy’s bounds, as we may use perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling, or completely deconstruct them. Thus, literacy practices with friends involve flexibility and creativity partially seen in other contexts, which makes conversations more engaging.

In conclusion, literacy practices vary depending on the setting, but they are all prone to shift depending on the circumstances. The ones within a family change as the child grows; school and workplaces enable mashing various aspects of language in equal communication. Game chats present the whole spectrum of literacy practices, ranging from very formal to obscure ones, understandable only to the players. Communication with friends is not much different from informal interactions with other people, but knowing the other person enables boldness in language expressions. I believe that all settings are valid and teach something new about language, and seeing it transform based on the circumstances is fascinating.

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Works Cited

Moore, Tim, et al. “Literacy Practices in the Professional Workplace: Implications for the IELTS Reading and Writing Tests.” IELTS Research Reports Online Series, vol. 1, 2015, pp. 1-46, Web.

Puranik, Cynthia S., et al. “Home Literacy Practices and Preschool Children’s Emergent Writing Skills: An Initial Investigation.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol. 42, 2018, pp. 228-238. ScienceDirect. 

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