Are our language skills deteriorating?

languagesIt is a worldwide phenomenon, people read less books, but more nonsense. With the rise of the internet, smart phones and tablets we are constantly reading something, but that something isn’t always great, spelled properly or grammatically correct. Children and teenagers in particular seem to have poorer language skills than their previous generation.

Of course there is the argument that school education isn’t what it used to be and doesn’t provide children with the skills they really need. Blaming educational institutions won’t do any good and doesn’t even accurately depict the problem, because adults seem to be having the same language issues as adolescents. The root of the issue is the fact that we read less books or quality papers. Blogs, forums and social media sites do not aid us in developing proper language skills and what we learn in school needs to be reinforced, by reading written works that actually have been proofread and edited.

Of course it is true that languages evolve and need to adapt to current times, but are languages really developing in the right direction? In a world where abbreviations are omnipresent and people start saying LOL instead of actually laughing out loud, can we really speak of evolution, or is it more deterioration? It is probably a bit of both, as already mentioned languages need to evolve and have done so ever since. There are many critics out there ranting about improper use of English, especially nouns becoming verbs seems to upset a lot of people, but just as Stephen Fry put it ones, if you do not like nouns becoming verbs, then reading Shakespeare is something you should avoid. For one of the greatest writers of all times made a doing-word out of nouns all the time, with every chance he got. In Shakespeare world motions were tabled, and meetings were chaired. So while proper language education and developing your skills are important, pedantry about the correct use of language should not be, for whatever may seem wrong to you know, could become normality.

With all that said, reading books, all types of books, novels, non-fiction, detective stories and so on should be something we all do on a regular basis, not just for the sake of our language skills, but because books allow us to travel to faraway lands and partake in unbelievable adventures. So put down your phone and pick up a book.

 

Are we witnessing the death of the written word?

paper-bookHave you noticed it too, all those book stores closing down? You can pass a closing down sale at seemingly every corner, every day there seems to be a new one popping up. Is that the downfall of the written work? Is Gutenberg’s legacy worth nothing?

Well there is certainly a shift in power, but speaking of the death of books is taking it too far. Times are changing and the digital revolution is upon us. Let me ask you a question, when did you last buy a roll of film for your camera? When did you last have your pictures developed, the old way, by dropping off your film roll and picking up your pictures an hour or a day later? When did you last glue photos into a picture book? My guess is, it was a while ago. What about the VHS, such a blast from the past, or audio cassettes, there are people living today that have never seen or held either of those. If we can store movies, photos and music electronically, why not do the same with books and is it really such a bad thing?

It seems that lately the community of the passionate readers all over the world has been divided into two fronts, the e-book enthusiast and the paper book lovers. Now those two parties hardly see eye to eye and do not agree in the slightest with each other. For a long time I myself have been a paper lover, but have finally come to my senses and jumped ship. So, please allow me to tell you a bit about why eBooks and eBook readers are awesome and have the potential to save written works and our environment.

One of the most obvious benefits of eBooks is that they eliminate the need to cut trees. Paper production is largely responsible for deforestation, so let’s all applaud the eBook for its paperless form. Another very important aspect of storing books digitally is the fact that they can be preserved for, well basically forever. Maybe you and I will lose one or two eBooks or PDF files, but institutions like libraries certainly will not, not anymore. Books grow old, they fade, can burn, brake, or be eaten by your dog, but a file can go on being a file for as long as there is electricity. So here they are the two main arguments for welcoming eBooks. It turns out we are not witnesses to the death of the written world, but witnesses to its transformation

eBooks versus paper books

Do you love reading? Well so do I. There is nothing more exciting than opening up a new book, smelling the pages and losing oneself in the new adventures awaiting me. A few days ago I was presented with a dilemma though, I was gifted an eBook reader and am not sure what to make of it.

Just a few seconds after unwrapping the device a range of contradicting feelings started stirring inside me. Thoughts such as, how can I read a book without having to turn its pages, are eBook readers bad for my eyes, which is cheaper, the paper book or the eBook; popped up, so I decided to investigate the matter further.

So far my research has included browsing for information and others opinions online and actually trying out my eBook. I decided to gather all my findings in a pro and con list to see who winning the race, the electronic or the paper version.

eBooks

Pro:

No trees need to be cut down for me to be able to indulge in my excessive reading habits.

I can carry an entire library worth on my eBook reader, it takes everything from workbooks, novels, cookbooks, self-help books and many more – one of my personal favourite features of the eBook.

I can change the font size easily to suit my eye sight.

There is no more frantic searching for quotes and passages I liked in books, now I can easily mark them easily and go back to access them any time I want.

eBooks can be quickly downloaded and cost a lot less than classic paper books.

Cons:

They are battery operated and nothing is more annoying than finding yourself on a train, keen to pull out your book and read it, just to find it has run out of charge.

eBooks are not free of bugs and can freeze up just like your computer or laptop do.

Spilling your coffee on your eBook can break the entire thing and all your books, notes and saved passages might be lost forever

Paper Books

Pro:

Books don’t need power to work, you just open them and start reading.

Packaging and covers can make paper books into works of art.

Second hand books have a mystical aura and remind us of how one single book can enrich the lives of so many people.

Cons

Bookstores all over the country are closing down and paper books are becoming more and more expensive.

They can be heavy if you need to transport a lot of them, at Uni or for school for example.

Storing them can take up a lot of space.

They are flammable and can be destroyed in large numbers at once, just think of the famous burning of the library of Alexandria.

Paper cuts, we all know this terrible pain

I guess my little list speaks for itself and I have to say, I never thought of myself as an eBook enthusiast, but it turns out I can be. I haven’t stopped buying paper books, but the truth is, I have grown to love my eBook! You can too, just give it a try.