Continued Demise of Language

Pen & InkHas anyone else noticed the continued demise of language? This is especially true with the written word, I suppose largely because no one is writing by and large these days outside of a few eccentrics who do still put pen to paper. It is getting worse though with each passing day and especially those days that bring with it new technologies. I have noted as much in the past myself when debating the nature of keeping a journal online or in written form and I am seeing it first hand even starting to occur with myself.  Just what am I talking about anyway?

My own personal debate of course was not about the blog, but a journal that I used to write in often. I have not of late written all that much in it mind you and occasionally, as I do keep an online copy as well, I just type it directly. That being said, even the typing with a keyboard still allows me to easily make complete whole sentences with full thoughts. Further, unless I am just lazy about it, which I am not, I can include full spellings that are correct most of the time (spell checking is a friend) and with the inclusion of the punctuation.

Even on my precursor cell phone that is previous to the smart phone generation has a qwerty set of keys. At the time I acquired it, I did some due diligence and made sure that I could use those keys as I generally have a distaste for the short, often barely understandable gibberish that often passes as a test message. Especially trying to understand those sent to me in regards to a technical question is often very trying. I was even gifted, though hand me downs, a phone that was touch screen based and a bit more advanced on the technology. After two months of trying to use it with my fat fingers and constantly correcting more times then there were letters in the message I passed it up to go back.

Enter the recent exploration of the I-Pad that I am doing for the company (we have mandates for app development and my general need to support them) and my own well being and I now know why I get this very short, lacking details, and especially lacking fluid flowing language emails. The keypad is a touchscreen and it is big enough (and I can say the same for the I-Phone) that I can use them without too much issue due to fat-fingering things. There is still the lack of feedback that you get from a traditional key or button telling you it has been pushed, but that is something I can overcome most of the time.

However, despite being arranged in loosely on the form of a qwerty keyboard, one can not truly type on them and instead ends up using the one finger, two finger, or perhaps a finger and thumb method. Which results in the shortest phrase possible that still almost conveys your meaning. This does nothing of course for the numbers and most punctuation and symbols, which are now shifted screen or even two to access. My passwords that often have capital letters, symbols and numbers and I can type on a real keyboard in under a second now take minutes of painful shifting screens to enter.

Yes, I agree, long gone have the been the days of flowering language of yesteryear, but our quick and to the point missives of today are taking brief and to the point to soaring new heights. The result is that of course, language will continue and even quicken its slide into the demise due to disuse. Before long we will descend back to our pre-historic relatives with simple different grunts of letter combinations, granted, conveyed on some electronic device for all our communication needs.

** – Image from Lord Skunk via WikiCommons.


3 Replies to “Continued Demise of Language”

  1. Yes, Ray, language is becoming a convoluted mess of short-cuts and pasty-white, vanilla-flavored adjectives. Once you throw in a few handfuls of acronyms and short-cut emoticons, it becomes hopeless.

    Like you, I used to keep a journal in long-hand. These days, I consider typing “longhand” — partly because I can type so much faster than I can write, but mostly because what I write these days is so far from elegantly formed ink on paper that it can barely be read. (I’m not sure what happened to my penmanship — it may have eloped with my memory or my desire to exercise.)

    I adore technology. What I do NOT adore is the fact that technology is a poor substitute for actual meaningful face-to-face communication. Consider how easy it is to miscommunicate by phone (as compared to “in person” communications) and how phone is still better than email and email is still better than text or IM. Frankly, I’m amazed by how easily a simple text can be totally misconstrued due to lack of fully formed thoughts, complete sentences and adequate punctuation.

    And don’t even get me started on the “drops” and “adds” to the Oxford dictionary… my heart just can’t take it right now! 🙂

  2. Has anyone tried to find nice stationary lately? I live in a small town and visited every store that might carry paper of any sort. At Hallmark I had the choice of pink foo foo or blue foo foo, the sales lady did say that I could place an order????? No one writes letters……sad.

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