X = “I believe that”

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It is quite apparent that mother nature and age is at play when you listen “older people” take issues with how the “young people” are doomed because they are not doing things the way they did this or that. Currently there is an interesting development in the chatting space of the internet; new languages are forming. For many millennials here in France texting “x” can mean not just one but several words and meanings. “I believe that” is at the basic form of “je crois”, but mated with images, the “X🙄” becomes maybe, maybe not, or much more. Keyboards based on avatars and smileys create stories that magically everyone “gets” faster, with emotion or feeling behind the words typed, than explaining something in the French language itself.

For a teacher I know at the languages school in the local University, “all of it” is pure armageddon; rendering the youth with “absurd competencies” utilizing “vocabularies in common” of less than 500 words in practice today. While she gleefully reported that people used to have 3000+ words of vocabulary not so long ago in her epoch. I am a little fascinated in the subject because it proves that we might be closer in fact to communicating with the Internet in ways that require less intrusive and perhaps more intuitive I/O; like not having to carry around these iPhones 24×7. Many of the French texting is intended to shorten the amounts of taps, but far more interesting to me is the use of phonetics and images to replace words rather than just using traditional abbreviation methods of chopping words. This is a lot more about “replacing” words with sound expressions. Example, moi becomes “mwa” not reducing the 3 taps, but rather it is the phonetic format of the original word. Even more interesting is that sometimes we see both “benefits” are accomplished when “t’es” becomes “t” and “c’est” becomes “c” in the phonetic and abbreviated formats together; resulting in shortening plus moving to phonetic expression.

Obviously we have seen before systems in the business world that reduce complexity on human-to-machine input-output. Take for example the “language” a Palm handheld introduced and some of us learned. It had the purpose to reduce the quantity of images and strokes we scribbled on the screen to become the “long form” of a language like English or French.  In my fathers office he did not have phones _without_ big wires and shielding cables, and there was not even a word processor, the dictionary was usually in the head of the secretary that would come and be responsible to deliver or “send” important communications. I remember this “special language” as a kid watching in amazement how fast it all went by my eyes and somehow to me there was “english” hidden there in a mysterious code. The secretary could take notes down at over 100 words a minute. Alas moving that code that was written comments before on a notepad (of paper) over to the typewriter “whack, tap, tap, tap, tap, rack, cling” took more time, yet was yet another method of communications language “learned”.

Later machines in stenotype doubled the speeds that my fathers secretary could achieve with the hand, and today most courtrooms and boardrooms use multi-media systems, that can even capture facial expressions, tonalities and perhaps more to come that will bring yet new aspects to our communications that were un-imaginable prior.

The argument might be that indeed I “should” need to know French, at least on some levels, to leverage the new language of French texting. However, if much of it is based on phonetics and images, and the vocabulary is 1/5 of the actual “spoken French” today, in terms of the spectrum of words I would have to learn, then maybe it would be better to just learn “text style French” and not traditional French at all. I mean if I want to interact with the French of tomorrow’s world, and if the rate of French moving into the “chatting space” is like an avalanche, why not start by learning “textoçaise” now? This of course means for my teacher’s view that that kids are not getting less, but rather something new, more powerful with added “features”…..maybe a replacement for French, at least for people outside France that might want to communicate to the “inside”.

Vector modern isometric smartphone with bubble speech on blue background

Without question the Internet molds the way we communicate in business into new forms of language at the core; meaning the added characters that are imagery based and a preponderance of informalities unthinkable just 20 years back. Fact: we must have an I/O method adaptable to the machines and network we transmit across. However, looking at the performance gains in speed and diffusion we have achieved already, one would have to imagine that “real soon now” (RSN) we will need to un-lock the potential of our bodies to adapt to new sensors that will not be limited to the alphabetic inputs we use today, tap, tap tap, heads down…..but perhaps have capacities to transmit not only emotional language, with imagery in not icon formats, but really felt and seen. Now that would be a tidewave of human evolution indeed.

REFERENCES:

Gregg shorthand – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_shorthand

Stentype – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotype

 

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