Posted by: sarakroth | November 12, 2012

Is Twitter Retrogressive?

I was fascinated by the insights “The Shallows” gave into the history of literature. I knew the basics, but didn’t realize, for instance, that syntax and punctuation were a relatively recent addition. I also didn’t realize that words didn’t used to be separated by spaces. “The Shallows” posits that because syntax, punctuation, and word separation didn’t used to exist, people weren’t able to read deeply. Instead, they spent the majority of their energy deciphering what the words actually were, and less time contemplating the deeper meaning of the words.

At first, imagining a world where sentences weren’t structured with punctuation, syntax, and word separation sounded impossible to navigate. But then, I realized that many of our new communications do just that. Texting has all but eliminated punctuation. In a world of 140-character tweets, syntax often gets left behind in favor of fitting everything in. And hashtags have eliminated spaces between words. #havewestoppedthinkingaboutthedeepermeaninginwords?


  1. Reblogged this on Annette J Dunlea Irish Author's Literary Blog.

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