Language Then and Now


A text message received last week:

110315_Pumpkin  parT on Fri. R u going?

Eeeeeeeek! Commence internal editorial wincing.

I freely admit to composing (mostly) grammatically correct emails/texts/IMs, including abbreviations. Spending an extra 15 seconds to write a lovely, concise message provides a ridiculous amount of satisfaction.

One can’t live in a vacuum, though, so I make point to be conversant in the latest digital slang, while not actively indulging. Language, like culture, is fluid and evolving.

On Halloween this past Saturday, my husband and I dressed in Colonial American garb to complement my son’s own trick-or-treating costume. (Since visiting Colonial Williamsburg in August, my eight-year-old has been on a Revolutionary-era history kick.) Eighteenth-century fashion was so formal! English was similarly prescribed; consider this example from the Colonial Williamsburg website (

“Sir, if you please, may I speak with you a moment?”

Fast forward 200-plus years for twenty-first century, much-more-casual variations:

“Can we talk?”
“What’s up?”

Where will American English be in another century or so? We can only guess. One certainty: spoken language will continue to progress and change, as will the written version – both in the print and digital realms.

The picture above, taken by my son (verified by his thumb in the upper right corner), sums up this train of thought nicely. My husband and I gladly looked forward, stepping out of that stiff, posed past and into the present of informal language and (thankfully) comfortable outfits.

When writing and editing … remember to have fun!

100615_WritingEditingFUNCarefully considering topic, tone and audience; setting precious time aside to write, and rewrite; agonizing over edits to reach the final version.

Wow. That’s some serious mental gymnastics. So … does “delight” still enter your blogging equation? Or has the whole endeavor become a true slog?

As with any long-term activity, it’s easy to get mired down in the business of producing a blog – or, for that matter, social media and other ongoing content efforts.

Want to invigorate your outlook? Reclaim those start-up high hopes. Inject lighthearted wonder into wordsmithing. Have fun with the topics!

In this brand-new blog, I likewise promise to remain mindful about keeping a sense of humor and enjoying the beginning, middle and end of the writing and editing process. (In truth, I always relish editing, even my own work.)

Here’s hoping you are able to do the same!