Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Language is a recurring theme in my musings and my work. It seems so permanent, and yet it is ever shifting and transforming itself to serve our changing culture. In my own lifetime, I've done writing in print and in script, as letters to penpals, as folded up mashnotes and slambooks, on typewriters, then typewriters that could erase (!), on computer word processors to be printed out, never mind print-outs, send it electronically, or by phone, why not just call, or video chat, but a quick text message will suffice. Each form alters how we think, as we try to communicate. Someone told me schools no longer teach cursive writing; can that be true? Writing by hand uses different parts of the brain than typing. An the fluid lines of script take the mind down different paths than rigid printing, I suspect. Composing thoughts through a keyboard (and lately, a touchscreen) has required some learning and adapting from me. Practice does make a significant difference, even from blogging. I have thought that our increasing use of texting and facebook-messaging, instead of calling and hearing someone's voice, was a change away from how things were, and perhaps a major change for our culture. But talking by phone is also a short-lifed anomaly. It has been only a little over a century since the invention of the telephone. And what did we use before then? Letters. (And talking in person, of course, but that's not really what this is all about.) Is texting and email moving us back closer to the way we used to communicate? Or has it changed everything? There is much more to this topic to still uncover.