In this age of electronic comm such as cells & e-mail, what is the role of formal writing? How do you think these methods influence the writing process?
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I personally think technology is damaging the writing process. People read blogs, message boards, and discussion forums as much as they do books, but these electronic mediums are not edited properly or written by experts resulting in some of the errors and bad habits of those authors being passed on.
Another flaw is spell check. I have seen a decline in my personal spelling over the last ten years because I don't have to be as cognizant of it due to spell check. I can just fly through and type something close to the word and if it's wrong I will be corrected. I don't have to think about spelling, so like math, my unused skills are diminishing.
Formal writing is mostly used in academia, professional journals and publications. Business is another venue that requires the use of more educated and controlled use of language in order to communicate and present oneself respectfully; but, as with #2 post, the short cuts and abbreviations must be addressed in language classes in order to clear up any confusions that are the result thereof. Any language can be lost if the people who speak it don't respect it. I think there are enough of us English teachers out there in the world who will defend our language's structure to the bitter end before it completely changes. On the other hand, we could see a division between those who apply correct structure in writing and those who don't. What types of jobs will those who master the skill of writing have as opposed to those who don't, for example. Some may not care one way or the other, but education and using it correctly naturally divides us up into different groups and that may be a result of digital shortcut communication.
I am concerned about the survival of formal writing skills in the face of the shortcuts that have been developed and are still evolving for texting and other digital communication. I fear that students who grow up using these means of communication are going to have real difficulty using the completely different language represented by traditional grammar and spelling in the English language.
Aside from those mechanical concerns, I wonder if electronic communications are lending to the deterioration of proofreading skills and to a reduced inclination to carefully consider word use and take time to craft phrases that convey an exact message.
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