Monday, September 7, 2009

4 U 2 Red. I Spek Enlis.

Boy I just know I'm going to sound just like my parents with this the hell did I get here so fast.....
Anyway, I see more and more replies to posts written in "text-ese" lately. And it makes me wonder if in, say, another 50 years that the written word will become obsolete. Sort of like what Shakespeare or Chaucer sounds and looks to us today. I read a book many years ago by the writer Ridley Walker where he envisioned some future post apocalyptic world where dogs could speak and when they spoke in the book, he wrote in this kind of "phonetic garble" and when I see text messaging it really reminds me of that book. ( yet another science fiction book eerily coming to life) It's a bit disconcerting to think how we will be reduced to communicating in a half symbol/written shorthand. Mind you if our world is becoming smaller due to Internet connectiblity...perhaps this is the way we will need to talk. Many (and I mean many) long years ago my mom learned to speak "Esperanto" which was a constructed international auxiliary language invented by L. L. Zamenhof ( look this up in Wikipedia for the whole quite interesting story)
My point being is that I'm sad to think most of the glorious languages that inhabit our world will become an esoteric study someday, like Latin. Are we becoming lazy with language? Is this a reflection on the growing illiteracy rate? Does anyone use a dictionary anymore? I know it's a struggle to find a decent dictionary in bookstores......and that seems astoundingly ironic. I know for sure spelling is becoming increasingly poorer.
I don't know; maybe we will just morph into "mind melding" with everyone. It'll all be pictures.
Ha! Another reason Artists are so needed!
We will be the fun guys to "talk" to!


  1. I wonder how much the problem you describe is due, not to general laziness, but to laziness of a specific kind, in particular with regard to English's atrocious spelling "system". I also speak French - whose spelling system is not quite as bad as English's, but almost - and lived in French-speaking Europe for over a dozen years, where a similar phenomenon seems to be playing out in French. I wonder if the same problem occurs in more phonetic languages like Spanish or Indonesian (neither of which I speak, unfortunately).

    Interesting mention of Esperanto. I'm trying to read between the lines correctly - please forgive me if I don't - and it looks like you consider Esperanto either a limited shorthand symbolic language, or a universal language that is meant to replace all other languages, or both. I speak Esperanto, and my experience with it is that it is neither: it's evolved into a complete language used in every imaginable circumstance, and its vocation is as an easy second language to use where there is no common native language, not to replace other languages.

    BTW (I mean, "By the way"), if you ever aspire to follow in your mother's footsteps :-), there are links in the Wikipedia article you mention above to sites with free on-line courses.

  2. Hi
    First I must thank you for the response...I'm very flattered that anyone would be reading my blog!
    I happen to regard Esperanto as a great innovation...sadly one that never gained the recognition it so deserves.I hope I didn't sound as though I considered it second rate in any way. I agree about the English language as immensly confusing in the spelling dept...and it would be interesting to find out if all languages are suffering from the "texting" phenomenon sweeping the world. I will ask my friend who is a Professor of ESL at U of Vic here in BC. She deals with students from various countries.
    Thanks again!

  3. Your Mom was wise - and ahead of her time. Esperanto works! I've used it in speech and writing in about fifteen countries over recent years.

    Indeed, the language has some remarkable practical benefits. Personally, I've made friends around the world through Esperanto that I would never have been able to communicate with otherwise.

  4. OK, I see what you meant about Esperanto. I didn't sense anything derogatory, just possibly mistaken. My apologies for misinterpreting.

    I agree, Esperanto hasn't gained the recognition it deserves. However, all things considered, it has actually done amazingly well. In just over 120 years, it has managed to grow from a drawing-board project with just one speaker in one country to a complete and living natural language with around 2,000,000 speakers in over 120 countries and a rich literature and cosmopolitan culture, with little or no official backing and even bouts of persecution. It hasn't taken the world by storm - yet - but it's slowly but surely moving in that direction, with the Internet giving it a significant boost in recent years. I'm actually quite optimistic about its future, even if we have to wait a while to see it fulfilled.

    So what did your friend at UVic have to say?