The Times They Are A-Changin’ In The World
GEORGE ORWELL ON LANGUAGE
Language provides us the rewarding ability to communicate. We form words and sentences to convey our ideas and emotions emphatically and simply, yet proper language has now become nearly archaic. Words are abbreviated for lack of patience, grammar is sheer nuisance, and emojis replace our true emotional state. Simple words are often thought to be too complex, not of this time. Numbers stand in for a single word’s suffix.
Language has ultimately been butchered by the Digital Age, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. George Orwell, prescient in his awareness of the changing times, criticized the notion that “any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light.”
THEY SAY CONVERSATION RULES A NATION
We reach each other with more ease than any other time, but this accessibility has hindered our mastery of communicating. We have everything to lose — meaning has long been forgotten. We confuse each other’s intentions and muddle sincerity, only to harbor mistaken feelings.
“Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning,” argues Orwell, “and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.” Orwell feared the death of language, and foresaw its nearing fate. The current state of communication would readily agree with that prediction, but instead of death, difficult as it may be to accept, language is undergoing a transformation.
CHANGE OR ACCEPT
We’ve come to accept that technology will forever remain a part of lives. It will continue to change our day-to-day habits, and evolve in ways we cannot possibly imagine. The Digital Age has left its mark on how we speak, read, and write, replacing the idea that television was behind the ‘dumbing down of America.’
The Atlantic’s Nicholas Carr argues that traditional methods of reading and writing have been broken by the intensity with which we skim the internet and fail to get through a single news article. That is the state of things. We forgo the beauty of language for lack of patience, and for the generations born into the technological craze, for lack of knowledge of anything else. Change is good, it’s a natural part of the human complex, but when we change for the worse we must question our values.