The Two Worlds of Written and Spoken Language

In “Literacy in the New Age”, Kress begins by talking about the difference between language-as-writing and language-as-speech. He proposes a couple of questions that really gives a better understanding about the difference between speech and the written word, and the noticeable effect it has had on the younger generations. Kress states that “together they raise two questions: what is the likely future of literacy, and what are the likely larger-level social and cultural effects of that change?” I think that the future of literacy is going to take an extensive toll on the learning of proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
If the majority of language that you see is written, and the majority of written language you see is abbreviated or shortened, how can you teach someone the proper way of speaking and writing? If someone is more inclined to send text messages and communicate via devices, how can you expect them to understand the correct way of speaking? With the invention of texting on cell phones and instant messaging on computers, people have been given “free passes” to shorten words and abbreviate phrases to make the messaging process faster and more simple. Most teenagers and young adults today are able to text and email fairly easily because of the fact that they were born into one of the most technological advancing decades. Because of these new inventions, people are much less inclined to meet up with people face to face since it is much easier to send a quick message.
Literacy is affected because of the laziness that people acquire when it comes to texting and instant messaging. To make the process easier, people decided to shorten words and abbreviate phrases and eventually these shortened words and abbreviations were recognized worldwide. With the spread of these lazy ways, proper grammar and punctuation are used less and less, and then barely at all. In conclusion, I believe that Gunther Kress’ theory about the literacy in the new media age is correct and very applicable to this generation.

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One thought on “The Two Worlds of Written and Spoken Language

  1. i really enjoyed your article and i think you make some good points. I do however feel that just like everything else in the world literacy will always evolve. When you look at the progression of literacy over the centuries you will see a change in how words are spelled, have new meaning, and also how some words have been lost. As we grow as a society so will many other things, and one of them will be how we read and write. I do feel that sometimes people just use big words to make themselves feel better about themselves and look smarter. If we as a society want people to learn and grow i feel that we need to make things more comprehensible, and also should use pictures and words together more often to help explain information, ideas or whatever easier. I do not have a large vocabulary and i feel it is hard to understand philosophers or even some of the upper level academic readings. I am going to school for engineering and in the books we use for class have words and pictures to help the students understand what they are talking about. When you have a picture next to words your are not only able to read what they want you to know, but also see what it is they want you to know. I feel that we as humans understand and respond to visuals more than we do when we read, and i think that we also need to evolve and start incorporating images with text more than we do today.

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