Thursday, 15 November 2007

Preserving Communication

I heard today that in Mexico there is a danger of an indigenous language becoming extinct because the two last remaining linguists have have had a disagreement and are no longer speaking. Both are elderly single men and have not passed the language on.

This led me to think about how our own language is evolving. Messaging, email and social networking are already starting to replace the telephone and face to face contact. In a work situation, employees will generally always email rather than phone someone in another department. From a business point of view this can lead to departmental fragmentation and a lack of cohesion to achieve business goals.

This also extends beyond the workplace. It is not uncommon for member of my household to text / email each other from different rooms! Everyone has a laptop, most of us have different interests. If I want to know whether what if my Dad wants to watch the football on saturday, do I go up to his study and ask him, or do I type this into messenger. Is this lazy or simply more efficient?

According to my mother, a teacher, text speak is rife within the classroom - and this is a terrible thing. But is it not just a further evolution of the English language? I am sure that at every stage of language evolution there have been some protagonists objecting against proposed shortcuts.

Whilst it is ridicoulous to suggest that face to face contact will ever disappear completely, it will be interesting to see the effects of technology on this area in the coming years. I guess we'll find out l8r.

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