Sometimes I feel like I live in the wrong century. There are many reasons for this and I am about to make you privy to one of them. So, listen to the tale of my woe and tell me if you share the same opinion or if you just think I’m crazy.
Simply put, the subject of brevity came up today. In other words, being brief and concise in your communication. Which I think is important, in certain instances, but recently it’s been bordering on the ridiculous. What I am refering to is the idea that your e-mail should not contain more than the bare minimum needed to relay information. Adjectives, complete sentences, and propper grammar no longer seem to be in fashion. Personally, this really irks me. First of all, the idea that people don’t want to read e-mails that appear to have a lot of text in them may be correct, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. I firmly believe that people don’t want to read becuase they have become lazy.
Technology has made it really easy for us to access everything at the click of a mouse or press of a button. We no longer are required to put very much effort into anything, including reading. Which, if you ask me, is blashepmous. Do you know how I learned English ten years ago when I first moved here? I read. Crazy right? Books actually teach us things. And not just a new language, they teach us about things that we can never experience in our world, they have the power to, basically, turn our whole life upside down. Sure, Goerge Orwell could have cut out half of 1984 in order to make it more ‘digestable’ but then it wouldn’t be the same book.
As well, the idea of taking out “irrelevant” information from our sentences, our e-mails, even our every day speech maybe be appealing (it saves time, I suppose) but it certainly makes for very dull conversations. Which would your prefer: “I woke up to find the earth envelopped in a blanket of pure white snow. It felt like clouds under my feet” or “There was snow on the ground this morning.” I think we forget that language is an art form. We are able to use it like paint to create beautiful images, to convey emotions, and to allow people a glimpse of our inner world.
Why wouldn’t we take advantage of this great gift that has been bestowed upon us and use it to its fullest capacity? What do we have if we don’t have language? How would we share our ideas, our thoughts, our congratulations or our condolesences? Why would we want to limit ourselves in our expression? Simply because people on the other end of the screen might not be able to appreciate the message? Well I say, those people should pick up a book and learn to appreciate the fact that humans are the only species in the world that are lucky enough to have language. Use it, people!
Not to mention that the field of psycho-linguistics exists for a reason. As you might imagine, this area of study focuses on people’s use of language and how it corresponds to their social, mental, and physical state. That being said, by cutting out all descriptives and giving nothing but the bare minimum, you are also voiding yourself of personality and making it very difficult for the recepient of your message to learn anything about you. We are becoming a generation of empty ghosts.
To summarize: Jane Austen didn’t become an author of legendary proportions by shortening her sentences. I can guarantee that.