Demise of the written word

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posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:50 PM
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Originally posted by JohnD

Books or no books, the fault lies within the communication of adults and children. As adults, it behooves us to ensure good communication with young people. I have seen the homework some of these kids turn in. They are getting straight As but have no clue on spelling and grammar. Even if they read like a fish can swim, the concept of correct punctuation and spelling never seems to make it into their reading and English homework. This is only one more little red flag that TPTB do not give a darn if the masses can communicate with them or not. Kids are given information but not taught how to approach it critically.


I agree and disagree. I agree that we need to teach kids to think and comprehend information, critical thinking needs to be important. But I disagree on grammar. When I was in school I loved reading and writing but absolutely hated grammar because I felt that all these technicalities were an unnecessary burden on self-expression.

Expressing meaning does not require one to know what a dangling participle is. Many grammatical technicalities are meaningless mechanics and I always felt that as long as what you write get's the point across and is correct enough to be understood that the misplaced commas and minor spelling errors shouldn't matter one bit.

So while good spelling and grammar should be taught I think that comprehending what you are reading and the message within the material is more important than diagramming sentences and remembering when to use a semicolon. The ability to digest the information being given into something meaningful is more important than the ability to convey that message with all the i's dotted and t's crossed.

As for youngsters and their hip lingo I think there's always been a gap like that because language evolves a little bit with each generation and new buzzwords are added all the time. Problem with text speech is that these buzzwords are just abbreviations and we need to make sure we don't abbreviate our whole language and lose all meaning.




posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 09:01 PM
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Originally posted by AccessDenied
reply to post by Blaine91555
 


But if we lose the ability to write, and the computers are all of a sudden rendered useless..what then?


I understand your concern. I deal with people with degrees who can not fill out an application form legibly all of the time. I've had people with degrees walk up to me and ask do I put my first name after my last name, when it was clearly marked on the application. The app goes straight to file 19 at the side of my desk.

I just see the cause as different. How does a person who can not comprehend a simple application for an entry level position get a degree? Where does the fault lie?

I am on your side that the ability should be taught in the early grades but in modern reality, keyboard skill is just as important. Again though, for most of us, affording private schools is not possible so the responsibility lies squarely on the teachers and the parents heads. Even more so on the parents because teaching has been replaced by indoctrination.

I should not be talking however. My English skills are not exactly stellar as far as writing goes, but my reading comprehension is plenty good. I credit my parents for that. Neither one attended beyond 8th Grade, which was the norm back then, but they made sure I knew how to read and enjoyed it before they trusted me to a school. Poor does not mean dumb.



posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:10 PM
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I'll throw my opinion into the ring. I think cursive writing was a waste of my time in school and it is a waste of time for my children now they are being forced to learn it. I never use it. I have never needed it. I doubt that I ever will. Even if my cursive penmanship was perfect, someone else may still have trouble deciphering it. Why create a personal dialect when you’re just trying to communicate with someone. Not even the remote chance that English is not their first choice. English language is hard enough to learn and read without everyone making there loop-de-do's and such as in cursive.
Publishing as a whole I believe has increased. Yes you hear about the decline of newspapers and others but there are more books being printed now than ever. Compare the amount of public libraries now to ten years ago and the numbers will not lie.
The OP personified “our” language. China will be the number one speaking English country with India a close second in a couple of years. They have more graduates with honors than all of people in school in the USA right now but that is another discussion. I would prefer that the emerging global language was based in English. Mandarin Chinese or Arabic is quite hard to learn.
Hording is not good but I suggest you build your personal library as much as you can. You can end up with crates of books if you check out yard sales. If the EMP bombs wipe out the internet, we can still go read books at the library and write letters.
I agree that what you suggest regarding TPTB. Divide and conquer and the job is easier if they are ignorant. I would be more worried about what TV programming and the “baseline level” it teaches than the increase of internet publishing. The internet allows what is published to reach anybody anywhere in the world instantly. It can be translated, copied and shared with everyone you know. It can be printed out or sent to a phone or a game console. Try that with a book.
Short hand texting is annoying to some but so is reading cursive. The technology enables communication instantly. The messenger is not as important as the message.

Reading all the previous post and making mine I kept thinking back to the Shift Happens videos on YouTube.
Here is one:








[edit on 12/11/2009 by staple]



posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:20 PM
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All my music may be digital on my iPod but I refuse to buy a Kindle or other type of electronic book. I read a lot of books and prefer to buy hardcover. There have been times my power has gone out cutting me off from TV and internet... at least I can still read a book by candle light. Many times I will even buy a used hardcover over buying a new paperback... just a preference. Also, buying used is a form of recycling.

I also keep two journals, one "regular" for every day stuff plus a dream journal. This keeps my handwriting in good form. Otherwise, the only time handwriting is used these days is signing your name to a credit card receipt!



posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:51 PM
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Addressing one part of the original post regarding cursive writing is that most every persons individual writing style & their particular idiosyncrasies is a unique marker reflecting somewhat on their personality. As a side note, there are many crimes that have been solved by the art of handwriting analysis, more properly known as Graphology.

There is a lot of hidden information that may be gleaned in regards to a persons penmanship, from where & how they place that first word on a sheet of paper, to the slant of words or overall writing & the tails on the letters. The relative size & spacing of letters to how their "T"'s are crossed to how they make their "I"'s & the pressure of the up or down strokes are all important indicators. A persons signature is also very important.

Since the age of thirteen I have made my "E"s in a unique way. They look like a sideways "M" or "W" much to the chagrin of my teachers. I do it subconsciously, and that along with many other subtle markers identifies that handwriting style as mine. I feel that there is no personality to the internet-emoticons nonwithstanding.

We seem to be losing some of our individuality with the tap of a keystroke.

In reference to another part of the original post, I remember several years ago, possibly going into the year 2000 there was a T.V. show with a countdown of the greatest inventions of the last 100 or 1000 years. I can't remember the specifics, just the final result. It was the printing press! That has always stuck in my mind, as I consider myself a Bibliophile.

That really got me to thinking, much of history known and our future yet to be discovered is in the "written" word. Runes, hieroglyphics, petroglyphs etc., on up through the ages to our Declaration Of Independence, Constitution, the numerous treaties, doctrines, decrees, procolomations and incantations along with some of the worlds greatest works of literature.

It is a sad possibility that future works of greatness could be only accessible as a size 12 font with comic sans or wing dings- if it's a really elegant prose.

Yes, we are technologically advancing at a rapid & furious pace- but, at what loss?



posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:57 PM
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Excellent post. Something I've been thinking for awhile.

I love my books and love old bookstores! The dust mites and I have fond memories LOL.

I am building something Glen Beck mentioned as a "freedom library". The standard Orwell, Heinlein, Huxley stuff with some old history books, religious/metaphysical works, of course some humor (my kid LOVES my old Don Martin/Mad paperbacks), and quality fiction (Tolkien, Lewis, Carr, etc.).

I'm a talker. I love to tell stories. We should all be capable of reciting (at least generally) some works. I've read the Tolkien trilogy a dozen times at least since I was a kid and know it fairly well. Remember Fahrenheit 451. They can burn the books but they cant burn the people.

Oops. yeah, they can.

SandF for the public service Lady!



posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 11:12 PM
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Originally posted by freighttrain
I welcome change, so let the language change, what's the difference? We can still communicate with one another and can still kill each other, so English language disappearing, won't change anything in actuality!



I have to disagree with your opinion my friend.

If you control the language of a society, you control that society. 1984 shows this with great clarity.

Normally, i eschew wikipedia as the cesspool it is. On occasion, it serves a purpose admirably.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 01:45 AM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 


I totally and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments you posted. I also think it is regressive and limiting and wrong.

One of the beauties of language, and English in particular, is its ability to evolve and adapt to changing conditions. Language, like species, must adapt or die. While we might find this transformation uncomfortable, we must accept it as inevitable. I too find this concept difficult to understand or submit to. But reality is what it is. Change, for better or worse, is unstoppable.

If adaptation decrees that currently defined formal standards of diction, grammar and spelling are committed to extinction – then so be it. I too mourn the passing of this dying species. But what can stop it? The genetics of communication will change for better or worse. It will prove itself through time as either a mutational boon or curse.

It’s just like the dinosaurs: at one time their great size was an asset. As conditions changed, it became a liability. The only difference between us and the dinosaurs is that the tragedy of being the last dinosaur could not be documented. It can now be articulated but that alone will not stop the demise.

Still, so much irony too that so much intelligence has fostered the accumulation of so much ignorance….



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 01:59 AM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 

The written word is demised? Nobody sent me the memo.

I have just finished reading a magnificent Nabokov short story called Wingstroke. It was more alive than most people I've met.

And last time I checked the old bank balance, I was still earning a pretty good living. As a writer.

I'm afraid I must disagree with you.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 02:23 AM
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reply to post by mckyle
 


Actually, that old rule with not using 'and' at the start is considered passe.

It's worse than passé, it's semiliterate. See H.W. Fowler, Modern English Usage, first (1926) and all subsequent editions.



[edit on 11/12/09 by Astyanax]



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 03:58 AM
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reply to post by passenger
 


Still, so much irony too that so much intelligence has fostered the accumulation of so much ignorance….

I put your quote in bold..because that is worthy of a signature sentence.

As a reply to those who don't notice this...I say, then, that perhaps you really haven't noticed what is going on around you.
I'd be interested to know if anyone can come up with the data..if sales of newspapers, magazines, and books has dropped substantially in the last 2 years.
I myself am guilty of reading my local paper online. If I see a magazine cover with an interesting article at the supermarket checkout..I don't buy it..I come home and read it online.
Gone are the days when we went to the library for researching anything..we just google it.
Use it or lose it..and soon enough, we will lose it.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 05:07 AM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 




Cursive writing is no longer being taught in school with the increased use of computers.
Everything that was in print is now being either transferred to the net, or placed directly on the net and not even going to print.


I don't notice anyone particularly upset that children are no longer taught how to ride horses, or how to use a sliderule, or how to make a fire with sticks and catgut.

Things that may once have been important don't necessarily remain important.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 07:39 AM
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Originally posted by AccessDenied
I'd be interested to know if anyone can come up with the data..if sales of newspapers, magazines, and books has dropped substantially in the last 2 years.

Sales of newspapers have dropped so catastrophically that most of them have now given up the struggle and are making their content freely available online (though evil old Rupert Murdoch is trying to change that with the help of Microsoft).

Magazine sales have held up much better, though there's been a drop lately due to the recession. This is cyclic and no-one expects the trend to continue for very long.

Book sales in the US and elsewhere show a rising trend, though, again, 2008 was a bad year due to the recession.

Except in the case of newspapers, which do something the internet does a whole lot better, your fears are not reflected in sales figures.

And speaking of the internet, I don't suppose people who spend most of their time in the 'entertainment section' realize that the overwhelming majority of web pages are text-based. People write them, and people read them--not in text message telegraphese or lol-lout-speak but in actual language. And more often than not, the language is English.

So it would seem that fears for the demise of the written word are a trifle premature.


I myself am guilty of reading my local paper online.

Yet you still read it. What are you consuming, if not the written word?


Gone are the days when we went to the library for researching anything..we just google it.

Yes, indeed. What do you feel is wrong with that?

Now think on this: books are made of paper. Paper is made from trees. And trees are more precious than books.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 08:51 AM
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Now think on this: books are made of paper. Paper is made from trees. And trees are more precious than books.


that's a bloody good point mate!

"and now for something completely different....."

I just obtained the "occult carrot" e-book pack,
I'd been waiting 5 months. 5 very long, restless & impatient months.
1027 underground, rare or out of print 'esoteric genre' books.
ahhhhhhhhhh......


life is good


Thank jebus for the internet


-B.M
(just wanted to share the joy of the moment
)

[edit on 11/12/09 by B.Morrison]



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 10:02 AM
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Originally posted by felonius


Originally posted by freighttrain
I welcome change, so let the language change.

I have to disagree with your opinion my friend.

If you control the language of a society, you control that society.

And by seeking to prevent linguistic change, what are you doing but trying to control language--and society?

Your post makes me think.

I've been on ATS long enough to note that the people who cry out loudest against the powers that be, the new world order, the Annunaki Lords or whoever their bogey of choice happens to be are nearly always the ones with the most reactionary, repressive views. I don't mean to say this is true of you, but it seems to me that the rule is very nearly always: scratch a rugged individualist, find a would-be despot.

In support of this one may add the observation, often made, that the further to the political right you go, anywhere in the world, the more of these secret-elite-conspiracy theorists you find. Take the Nazis, for example: their entire malformed worldview was nothing but a big conspiracy theory.

[edit on 11/12/09 by Astyanax]



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 12:09 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

I've been on ATS long enough to note that the people who cry out loudest against the powers that be, the new world order, the Annunaki Lords or whoever their bogey of choice happens to be are nearly always the ones with the most reactionary, repressive views. I don't mean to say this is true of you, but it seems to me that the rule is very nearly always: scratch a rugged individualist, find a would-be despot.

In support of this one may add the observation, often made, that the further to the political right you go, anywhere in the world, the more of these secret-elite-conspiracy theorists you find. Take the Nazis, for example: their entire malformed worldview was nothing but a big conspiracy theory.

[edit on 11/12/09 by Astyanax]


That is an interesting angle in itself. Although it goes beyond the topic of this thread... Maybe it deserves a separate one.

I grew up with thousands of books - TV came when I was a teen and I never grew used to it. I also wrote a lot - mostly longhand, later typed up. I mean hundreds of pages. A few things were published in my native country.

I sought various tpyes of heightened awareness in my twenties - I still recommend meditation and astral travel to all. My observation then was that I and my companions - who crossed the seas of consciousness with me to discover new realms - found in the process the archetypal Logos of mankind, an infinite source of knowledge. We could not separate these spontaneous learnings from what we had read - from the Presocratics to Buddhists and Jung. Strangely enough, the learnings were close to what learned from shamanic and native Books and writing as an adventure seemed more and more important. However, coming out of these heightened states I and my companions observed that certain trends that were becoming fashionable around then were directly alienating people from even the very direction of these learnings, and also simple love and wisdom. (Sorry I have to use such an Ericksonian word - "learnings").

Such factors were all tied with the more and more Idiocracy-like (but also violent) consumer capitalism. Among others, the widespread use of TV, the excessive reliance upon cars and the strange, inhuman distribution of space that comes with it. Just think about it - the Gutenberg Galaxy is tied to cities where you can walk to places or use public transportation, survey your environment, where you are be exposed to other people, where traditions can live etc. Such an environment is rarely possible today - although an anthropologist may point out that the Internet is a medium which gradually makes up for its destruction.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 01:37 PM
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Reply to: lots of you

I really like this thread; I seem to keep returning to it. There's a lot of good stuff in it, even the bits I disagree with. So with your permission, and at the risk of being a bargy old thread hog, I'm going to reply to a whole lot of you at once.

Did I mention I have the 'flu, and hence time on my hands? No? Oh well, never mind. Here we go.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
The problem is that we have become totally dependent on (the internet) for our information. What if it were taken away? How would I find out the meaning of a word? Or the history of another country? I mean, I have a dictionary here, but I don't have the means to find out the correct grammar of "whom" or the history of the Czech Republic.

What did you do before the internet, BH?

I remember what I did, most of the time.

I didn't.

Education is something I have cultivated all my life--without, I might add, breaking too much of a sweat over it. Before the internet came to me, my ploughing and sowing bore fewer and smaller fruit. The fertilizer--money, time or energy--were too often lacking.

The internet is here to stay. It will not vanish unless civilization collapses. It will not become the preserve of an elite few--it has already passed beyond the control of any single group. In the world's most repressive societies, the freest discourse is always found on the internet. I think we may embrace it without reservation, and let be what will be.

* * *


Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
The devolution of language through the use of text speak is frightening but I think the educated will write books. Why would an avid text message fan sit down to pen an entire book in text-speak when texting is based on quickness and convenience.

I don't mean to single you out, but why is the use of text-speak 'frightening'? I can't stand it myself; I never use it; but I most certainly am not terrorized by it. What's it going to do, steal my car and rape my girlfriend?

Are the foundations of civilization to be rent from their moorings just because someone types '2 b o 0 2 b dat s da kSchN?' Do you seriously imagine Shakespeare wouldn't have typed that, if he had happened to have a mobile phone on his person at the time?

And if you want, well, not an entire book but sizeable chunks of one written in txtspk (ooh, I love that!), look no further than Yellow Dog, a very literary novel by that most self-consciously literary of present-day authors, Martin Amis, in which one character communicates entirely (and hilariously) in it. Read it. You'll split your sides.

* * *


Originally posted by Soylent Green Is People
How much of our digitized information will survive the future, or be able to be accessed by archeologist of the future?

As always, sir, you make a strong point.

However, we mustn't allow ourselves to run away with the idea that records on paper, or even on film, are especially permanent.

Most books printed today won't be around in 50 years time, let alone 250. The reason is that paper made from wood pulp contains acids that cause it to self-destruct over a relatively short period. Books printed 150 years ago, when paper was mostly made from cotton or linen, will last far longer. You may find this Library of Congress article on the subject of some interest.

As for film, well, they say black-and-white film properly treated will last a very long time, but I've personally experienced far too many catastrophes with mould and mildew, fading and so on to feel very sanguine about any of it.

* * *


Originally posted by mckyle
I get a big kick out of reading letters from simpler, quieter eras: the letters of Lincoln come to mind, as do a number of Victorian writers. We are losing writing as an art form, and as a means of conveying ideas and emotions eloquently!

Speaking as both a reader and a writer, I most vehemently disagree.

I, too, enjoy reading the correspondence of great men and women from earlier eras. But I never forget that they were great; and one of the commonest attributes of greatness, no matter in what field it is manifested, is eloquence.

Try reading the quotidian writings of more ordinary folk, or even ordinary journalists, as I have often had to when doing research for an article or book, and you'd be singing a different tune, believe me.

So, Access Denied, charming and delightful as you most certainly are, I fear I must disagree with you and say--in the immortal words of the First Murderer in Macbeth--'let it come down'.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 02:01 PM
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By all means Iam quite open to disagreement. I just threw it out there for discussion and it could be argued either way.
I thank you immensely for your posts in this thread, and were it not the holiday season and I have party plans, no doubt I would be glued to researching this as well.
Hope you are feeling better soon.


[edit on 11-12-2009 by AccessDenied]



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by AccessDenied
 

There you go, first star of the season--from me, that's to say.



posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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Great thread.
I've derived much pleasure by reading it.

I may be stating the obvious here but I always like to tell people that the Internet is to the 21st century what the Gutenberg Press was to the 15th century.

Think on that for a minute.

Think of the social upheavals that can be attributed to the printing press: the reformation, the enlightenment and the industrial revolution just to name a few.

It's fairly obvious (to me) that the internet or interwebs or "net", or whatever you want to call it, is still in it's infancy (I say that having personally witnessed the marvels of e-mail in 1988) and therefore the ramifications of such a giant leap in communication technology is yet to be determined with any certainty.

Is it any less permanent than other previous mediums?

Perhaps, but then some things are better left buried and forgotten. I'd like to think that anything important will be preserved no matter what may come, even if it's only orally transmitted.
.





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