Wednesday, February 11, 2009

RE: Questions, Comments

In a time where images are more available and don't take as much time to process, have words gotten lost?

As much as it pains me to admit it, I do believe words, at least in the written form, have sort of fallen through the cracks. I'm drawing examples from my one of my Journalism textbooks which addresses the decline in interest in news in general but especially in drawing news from newspapers and magazines. Some studies claim that people, on average, derive more satisfaction from watching television than from other hobbies (including sex). Another study surveyed people (680 households; 1,614 individuals) whose homes had been broken into and their television sets either stolen or destroyed. In 24% of households, people experienced a reaction akin to mourning and 68% reported psychological trouble (anxiety and discomfort). Media analyst Doris Graber believes this indicates, "that television stimulates the human brain in more comprehensive ways than other print and electronic media do (with the exception of interactive media on the Web)."

So perhaps it's not images themselves that are attracting people away from words but rather images, words, sounds all packaged together? It's rather interesting to think that people are choosing activities considered lazier, but in actuality require more brain activity.

Overall, though, I don't think (spoken) words will ever be completely lost. As Meredith has pointed out, humans are biologically built for language. No society has ever been discovered that did not have some form of language (although one small tribe did not have a numeric system). Unless humans develop telekenetic powers sometime in the future, words will always be necessary in order to communicate.

Will there be a resurgence of words?

Why not? History is cyclical, so is fashion. Literary movements almost always occur in reaction to the previous one, so it's not entirely improbable that a "resurgence of words" might form as natural reaction to society's aversion to them.

Has language entered a new stage?

Language is always evolving. We are continuously inventing new words and new forms ("I just googled penguins.") in order to describe new inventions and technological advances. Slang, too, is a good indicator of language evolution. Language is not stagnant. It is always entering new stages. It is living.

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