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Friday, November 2, 2012

The New Endangered Species: Words


Every fall, I pick two new shows to take a chance on. This year it was Arrow on CW6 and Elementary on CBS. Since Vijaya already wrote about Arrow, I'll take Elementary, not so much to comment on the show but to stress something as I see in the future of writers.

Briefly, Elementary is a remake of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes a recovering drug addict is doing what he does best in New York and Dr. Joan Watson is hired by his father to make sure he stays clean. Although really deviating far from Sir Conan-Doyle's original, there is much to recommend this new incarnation from the punchy dialogue, the gritty characters and the general messiness of the main character's life.

But as I said, this really isn't about the show, it's about what the main character, Sherlock said on the show. Sherlock texts Dr. Watson as part of his check-in process. The problem is that Sherlock uses first letters of works to create sentences. Now, this isn't your typical LOL or WYSIWYG. These are things no one has ever created an online Rosetta Stone for.

Sherlock thinks he's participating in the evolution of the English language; Watson doesn't understand what he's saying.

And here we have the crux of modern writers. Texting is changing our language--shortening it to reflect our attention spans. A scary phenomenon for writers.

Language is our medium of choice, our sole means to connect with others and share our vision. Instead of lugubrious paragraphs, our world-building will be restricted to sound byte sentences. Words will have to mean more while being sparsely doled out. And while English is rife with precise words, our daily vocabulary is shrinking.

What will the future of writing look like?

IDK.  

1 comments:

H.D. Thomson said...

Very good point Linda! It will be interesting to see what my grand kids will be reading and if a book will keep their attention for any length of time. Everything has become so visual, particularly over these last couple of years with the smart phone hitting the market on such a large scale.

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