What Is Graphic Language In English And Design? (Explained)

There are several ways in which the term graphic language can be used. At times it can mean word choices and other times it can signify even a type of drawing. There are entire systems of computer language that it can refer to as well. So, what is meant by graphic language in speech and in design?

Graphic language in English is explicitly sexual, offensive, or violent language spoken or in text. Graphic language in design means graphical technical design drawing or computer based languages (APIs) that control graphics cards and other computer components to render graphics on screens.

We will look at many ways graphic language can be used in more detail in this article. If you have a specific use for the term in mind, it should be covered here. So, let’s get graphic!

What Is Graphic Language In English?

There are many levels of word choice and tone in the English language. Some are appropriate for professional or formal situations and others are more casual. There are also forms that attempt to push the envelope of what is acceptable in terms of vulgarity, familiarity, and offensiveness. Is this what is meant by graphic language in English?

Graphic language in English points to vocabulary and its usage that bring connotations of sexual, violent, or discriminatory themes into public and private spaces. These terms are considered offensive by the vast majority of the population and are deemed wholly unsuitable for children.

There are also themes that can be uncomfortable and inappropriate even without specific word choices. Themes of violence and sexual activity even using euphemisms and hidden meanings can still be seen as graphic in nature.

The common understanding though is vocabulary and themes that are explicit and openly discussing or pointing out thing that are inappropriate for the audience at hand or public discourse in general.

Graphic Language In Movies And Television

Entertainment on screens of all shapes and sizes have taken over the pastimes of most all of us to some degree. Some use them appropriately and some abuse the technology and waste away hours that should be used on more productive endeavors. The language used by entertainment companies in their shows is no different.

Some tend to be responsible with their language while others make it a habit of pushing and crossing boundaries of decorum and decency.

Many movies and television shows have what are called adult themes and language. This is another way of saying that these scenes are graphic in nature. The explicit showing of sexual situations or violent actions are usually accompanied by graphic language and vocabulary.

Graphic language in movies and television is an extension of what it is in personal and public discourse. The difference is that it is active where the audience is completely passive. Situations are entirely contrived and graphic language is used for selling shock in the form of entertainment.

In order to protect children from being exposed to graphic language that is above their abilities to cope with, the Motion Picture Association has since 1968 offered parental guidance standards that have become the norm and used by adults for their children as well as themselves.

Ratings are determined by the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA). Here are the ratings with notes on how graphic language plays into its designation.

Movie RatingAppropriate Age RangeLanguage Warning
G (General Audience)All AgesVirtually no graphic language
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)7 years old and above unless with a parent Some language not suitable for young children
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)13 years old and above unless with a parent Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
R (Restricted)17 and above unless with a parentContains adult and graphic material.
NC-17 (Adults Only)No one under 17 admittedDefinite graphic language and material not suitable for minors

Further note: We as a family don’t enjoy sexually explicit language or scenes in our shows and movies. To further find out what is in a movie before we watch it, these ratings are not explicit enough. We use the parents guide section of the movie listed on IMDB. Users have normally listed every instance of explicit or graphic language or action.

Types Of Graphic Language In English

There are many ways for language to be graphic. This can affect how acceptable it is in different circumstances without becoming awkward, offensive, or uncomfortable. What are the types of graphic language in English?

The types of graphic language in English include:

  • Sexually explicit words or phrases
  • Derogatory vocabulary of a racist, violent, or discriminatory nature
  • Foul language or cursing generally considered unsuitable for polite use
  • Descriptions of sexual acts or seductions
  • Descriptions of violent acts

Most graphic, offensive, or adult language will fit into one of these categories and will generally be considered unwarranted in professional, formal, or religious contexts and especially any situation involving children.

To see more articles you will enjoy…

Warning: Graphic Language

Alright, lets get to this. If children are present in your general area, please wear headphones or make sure they have left the room. This will get very graphic.

It is important to note, that when you see a sign that says, “Warning: Graphic Language”, take it seriously. If in this more liberal society of today someone deems it necessary to warn a viewer or reader of the graphic nature of the upcoming content, rest assured it will be explicit.

The late George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was notorious for his use of graphic and explicit language. He even became known for his ever expanding list of ‘dirty words’. He included it in several of his comedy routines and as it grew in length so did its popularity for its shocking openness towards language most shun using in public.

His critique of the unwritten rules of which words were acceptable on public television only apply in part today. As our culture becomes more and more desensitized to immodest and immoral behavior, so too our language becomes less so.

Warning: This video contains extremely graphic language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Deferring to decorum, I will not be listing any of these words or phrases here. If you are so inclined, you can easily find them in many movies, shows, and definitely among other comedians like the Carlin today.

Many of these words are harmless in and of themselves, but their popular use in vulgarity and with ill intent make them less than appropriate in many situations. Though, there are some… that may even carry the designation of intrinsically bad.

What Is Graphic Language In Design?

For those that are native to the English language, you can attest that a large portion of what we say can have not only double, but multiple meanings. Let’s look at a more technical meaning of graphic language. What does graphic language mean in design?

Graphic design can be seen as not only a visual expression of a solution to a problem, but a graphic language itself. It expresses without words the same messages that many use language to transmit. Though it is more limited in its scope, to those in the field it can be a graphic language.

There are basically two iterations of graphic design and thus a technical graphic language. Let’s briefly look at each of these to get a sense of the contrast between them and what was described above.

What Is Graphic Language In Technical Drawing?

Unlike art that attempts to express something by its very nature or being, technical drawing functions more like a language and is used not to portray an aesthetic, but used as a tool or means to an end. It conveys information about a specific thing outside of the drawing itself. What is graphic language in technical drawing?

Though art can be considered graphic language on some level, its purpose is to speak about beauty in God’s creation. Technical drawing is meant to deliver facts about man’s creation using God’s. It can be considered in some respects as a language in its own right to those using it.

Furthermore, technical drawings are usually filled with as much or more information as written or spoken languages. Though their limitations bind them to technical jargon and functionality, they at least come close to language.

What Is A Graphic Based Language In Computing?

There are several other graphic languages that live in the realm of computers. Most deal with animations and visual representations of data on screens. This can be for entertainment, education, or even things like national defense. What is a graphic based language in computing?

There are different consumer level graphic based languages along with others that deal more with technical aspects of visual representations of data.

The main graphic based languages are:

  • GDI – Graphics Device Interface
  • DirectX – controls sound and graphics cards in computers
  • QuickDraw – similar to DirectX but for Mac computers
  • Display PDF – PDF stands for Portable Document Format
  • OpenGL – (Open Graphics Library) used to render 2D and 3D graphics

If all of these terms are Greek to you, you are not alone. These are terms that are pregnant with meaning to those in technical computing fields.

It suffices to say here in this article that what you see on your many different screens is possible due to these various graphic languages. It is a completely different use of the term to signify how computers do what they do.

The Final Word On Graphic Language In English And Design…

Whether you are talking about computer graphics, cursing in movies, or explicit descriptions of violent or sexual content, graphic language is the term used. Like with many English words, context it key.

Hopefully this brief explanation has helped you understand the different uses of the term and can help you understand the inner workings of your computer better or save you from exposing you or yourself to unwanted explicit content.

If you would like to see more articles you will like from DoublespeakDojo.com, check these out…

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a proud father of four, husband of over 26 years, and an avid lover of languages and language learning. He taught himself to conversational fluency in German and then did the same for his daughter Lexi. She went on to spend an exchange year in Germany, minor in German at LSU, and become president of the LSU German club. Mathew continues to this day to learn languages with an emphasis on communication.

Recent Posts