How might society preserve language when the popularity of texting has replaced email composition?
Are we to simply accept the dumbing down of language? Or do we take a stand and lead by example? Not all technology is progress. Without self control and discipline we may lose contemplative and thoughtful writing as a society.
A dead language such as Latin can be preserved. A living language such as English can and will change with the times. Texting will eventually lead to simpler ways of writing in other forms but thoughtful writing will still be possible. Could a short story or a novel be created with texting? I couldn't do it but I believe it could be done. Simplifying is not necessarily dumbing down.
One might say that email was a dumbing down of traditional written letters. With each new advancement in communication, I think there is always a worry that language will, in some way, be damaged. But so long as there are those who are passionate about it (writers/readers) then I think it will persist in a formal capacity.
Writing has certainly evolved throughout the centuries, but "contemplative and thoughtful writing" will always maintain its place through books, articles etc. The convenience and speed of texting is what has made it so popular, but I don't think it will replace traditional writing as such.
As someone with a Bachelor degree in English and an avid texter, I feel like it's important to understand that texting is a language in its own, and most of the time it is not accurate to the English language. You don't text the way you speak because it takes too long to type into a message that was created to save time. As long as we keep it known that you do not speak or write papers or compose e-mails in the way you compose a text message, we should be okay. the English language has been around for ages, texting is not going to wipe that away as easily as you may think. As long as teachers are teaching in schools, parents are teaching and paying attention at home; As long as people pick up a book or the newspaper, texting will not overturn the English language, even though it may effect it slightly.
I am more concerned about texting and game apps replacing time that could be better spent reading. People who read will always have better vocabularies and writing than those who do not. Those of us who remain literate can continue to use complete words, sentences, and paragraphs in our own communication, setting an example for anyone who wishes to appear more educated/civilized. That is really all we can do.
Emails, used nowadays only by old fogeys and business professionals, are no place for improper English. And texting is a mere convenience that adds to the richness, humor, and effectiveness of our language, much as slang and portmanteau words have done. The USPS has far more to fear than we do - it's called snail mail with good reason. I don't even have a physical address for many of my acquaintances, so I couldn't send them a card, letter, or package if I wanted to without asking them, first.
I've attached an article that explains quite convincingly that one (especially a young one) needs to have a decent command of syntax in order to text. You can't abbreviate if you don't know phonics, for one thing, and spelling for another. Kids who text actually score higher on tests meant to measure language usage than one who don't.
We are in far greater danger of losing our language by what I am doing right now: word processing. Software tries to correct our writing constantly, often with unnecessary and incorrect substitutions. It is a terrible way for young people to learn how to write, or try to, and I firmly believe that no teacher in his right mind should allow assignments to be submitted via word processing until the second half of 8th grade, except for the sole purpose practicing MLA style formatting for high school and college, where it is expected. It is the act of writing something out by hand that is most sorely missing today, and the valuable engagement of brain and hand in cooperation required to do this is what will lead to the loss you describe. A link to a short article that describes this alarming trend follows, too.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/j … dianreview
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/scien … .html?_r=0
I agree that the written language is very important to preserve. I occasionally write a long form letter by hand for this purpose. Thank you for the links.
I am teaching writing to some homeschooled children in grades 5 and 6. I have them write in journals and copy from the white board. I'm no neuroscientist, but I have to believe the physical act of writing words helps with learning,
This is a good question. I've thought about it a lot over the past few years. There have been a few answers submitted by people who love our language, respect it, and study it. When these people text, they recognize it as a different language. Their minds put it somewhere separate from their native tongue. Not everyone does this.
Latin has been preserved and is static because it is no longer spoken. The rule here is, "if a language is used, it changes....and cannot help but change, even if very slowly." Entropy is at work constantly, and mankind is always looking for an easier road to follow.
So, we'll see, right? Will American Englishers preserve the beauty of our current form? I hope so.
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