Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Help! My language is changing and I can't keep up!

If you go back through the years, you'll find all sorts of dire predictions from The Guardians of the English Language every time technology made a stride forward in the way we deal with words. The typewriter led to all sorts of warnings of how civilization itself would be forever diminished because of this horrible piece of technology. Was it? No.

I'm certain that if I went as far back as the printing press, I would find the same sort of comments being made. Things might change because of new technology, and sometimes change into something unrecognizable, but language by now it should be obvious the richness of language is more flexible -- and indestructible -- than that.

It should be obvious that because of computers, people are now writing far more than ever before. (One only needs to talk to publishers about the number of submissions and queries they get these days to know this is true.) We communicate with friends more often, have more business correspondence, send more greeting cards, even. How many of us have websites on myspace.com? Blog? All of this is a good thing. Quite frankly, it doesn't take as much effort to write as it once used to. How can that be bad?

As always, though, the language itself is changing and adapting to this faster and easier method of communicating. One only has to get a few emails to begin to pick up on this. How many of you know what ROTFL means? n/t? =0? All of these acronyms and symbols communicate ideas in very brief snippets, much as computers communicate solely in terms of on/off. And that's about as simple as it can get.

Written communication is in a high state of flux at the moment and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Next entry: what I don't like about what's happening. If you have any contributions, log in and post them as a comment, please!

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