I can not address just any language about this matter of reproach. I am fluent in only one, that being English. Moreover, although I am familiar the British form, I’m considerably more comfortable with the American style and structure. Even though I have this inadequacy, I want to throw my view of this subject of the decomposition of words out into cyber space for exploration and, possibly, discussion.
When I found myself reaching for my Kindle on a daily basis just months ago, I must admit to being a little unsettled. I had been taking pride in hampering the cast-off of the tried and true tools of the written language brought on by technology. Nonetheless, here I am reading great works by the masters on an electric device. At any rate, I’ve identified what I hold to be a problem with the written expression of today’s world, that may or may not have been produced by the electronic components and/or the lethargic appearance of the society of our time.
Although the words used in the eighteenth and nineteenth are in today’s dictionaries of the English language, many of those terms are so seldom seen in anything written or heard in speech nowadays. Indeed, unless you read an assortment of subjects, you may never come across these words. In the movie, You’ve Got Mail (released 1998), the character, Kathleen Kelly suggests that Joe Fox read Pride and Prejudice. She so loves the story and the language of the time (early nineteenth century) that she reads it at least once per year. Words such as nonsensical, thither, continence, and decorum, just to name a few, are found scattered throughout this masterpiece; and the means of these words are precise enough that I wonder why they have faded into the woodwork of countless libraries and bookstores.
My vocabulary is shameful. Until approximately three years ago, an atrocious number of the words I used were jargon, homonyms, and clichés. Along with this plight, some of those words were fashionable for such a short length of time that they didn’t even last through one generation. Yet, there I was, penning or typing frantically, thinking how enjoyable my blog posts would be. How preposterous I was. I am sure many of the people who subscribed to my blog were merely scanning my entries, and were devotees solely because they were kindhearted. Since that time, my collection of words has grown some, although the list is still meager. I question that other people’s vocabularies are growing, or if they are diminishing.
Has our so-called “advanced” society evolved to the point where we assume the art and need of expressive language is not as valuable as it once was? When I am out doing shopping or out for a meal, I will see a variety of people texting with their cell phones. I have used the texting feature on my own phone, but find myself inapt at this action, wanting to put correctly spelled words in and using complete sentences, which to the seasoned pro of texting will be labeled as ridiculous. Because this task is designed for the fast pace, we may lose our capability to endeavor in such projects as writing a decent letter or maybe even signing a greeting card properly. Our competence with the words of the spoken, as well as the written language could cease to exist.
In the past, it has been language, both written and spoken, that have taught us about everything in our world to prepare us, as much as possible, for what will come in the future. With such a small vocabulary as what is needed for tasks such as texting, will the learning process take a plunge?
I can not assume to know the answers to the questions I put before you. I do think they are points deserving of consideration though.
Reading is the work of the alert mind, is demanding, and under ideal conditions produces finally a sort of ecstasy. This gives the experience of reading a sublimity and power unequalled by any other form of communication. – E. B. White