Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Blast From the Past

On Friday I received something that I haven't received in a long time. I went to the mailbox and found an envelope that was addressed to me and contained a hand written, personal letter. I can't remember the last time that I wrote or received a letter.

Today we are used to e-mail and text messaging. Cell phones make getting in touch with somebody as simple as reaching into your purse or pocket or tapping a little button on your blue tooth ear piece. I imagine that even if I needed to send a letter, it would be typed out on the computer, spell checked, printed and finally mailed out. The letter delivered today by the US Postal Service is nearly as antiquated as the once speedy Pony Express. I think that the art of letter writing is quickly become a disappearing art.

E-mail letters from a younger generation often have no upper case letters; not for proper nouns nor at the beginnings of sentences. Text messaging and instant messaging have brought about a whole new dimension to writing that will perhaps be the bane of the written language (imho).

Without spell check, many would be lost and few would really care. I'm not even sure if spelling counts for anything in school today. (By the way, why isn't phonetically spelled like it sounds? And why is abbreviation such a long word?) I know that this particular rant is telling of my age and generational values but I have to wonder if future generations will look back to consider this to be an ancient and outdated form of communication. Is our written language evolving into abbreviated messaging. Will it become something that other generations will think of in the same way that we consider Old English texts that contain thees, thous and verbs that endeth with eth?

On the bright side, there are some creative aspects to today's text messaging. :)
Sideways faces to express oneself can be interesting. ;)

Sorry for the rant.

ttyl

John <><

9 comments:

Mike said...

imho and ttyl are actually on Dictionary.com.

Kevin said...

I view your post more as an observation than a rant.

We got a new cellphone plan a few months back which included unlimited texting between my wife, daughter and myself. I wasn't sure the texting would be worthwhile but it absolutely has been.

Rachel had a bunch of kids over last night in the driveway sitting by the fire pit. It got a bit loud sometime near midnight and I was able to discreetly text her to let her know they needed to quiet down a bit. Much nicer than having to be step outside and risk embarrassing her. :)

Bilbo said...

I have long lamented the demise of the handwritten personal letter. Texting is NO substitute!

Amanda said...

I've actually made it a point this year to send out a few hand written letters and cards....for old time's sake (I'm not even that old). Want one?

John said...

I'd love one, Amanda. Send me an e-mail and I'll send my address! (How's that for a little irony?)

Mike said...

More than a little irony John. A lot more.

Gooseberried said...

Yes, the language we use that basically started it's front in the 30s will die out. There will still be some elements, but like old English and middle English, our American English will develop into something entirely new. That's just how linguistics goes. If you research it, you'll see that this has been happening for many many centuries.

zero_zero_one said...

One of my goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list is to handwrite a letter to a friend once a month over the duration of the 1001 days...

Which reminds me, I'd better get that done ASAP!

Pastor Greg Yount said...

I have a cell phone - but don't text. I use email, but write out Christmas cards. I use the computer alot. My kids don't have cell phones - but my Sophomore (High School) is beginning to "talk text" using texting codes like "bff" or "idk." You think you're old - I must really be having a time aging as I don't like this new direction things are going - but I'm being pulled that way - and I'm kicking and screaming!