How we write has changed over the past century, says Mcwhorter. Much of it comes down to expectations, and this makes sense to me since language is a social, negotiated process. There was a time when written language was expected to be thought-out, formal stuff. Examples of this are tired, beaten, rough-edged civil war soldiers and their highly structured letters to home.
Much of the lecture provides examples of written language from journalism and in comparing 6th grade reading between then and now. The difference is in the formality, the preparedness. Writing wasn’t how people spoke, speaking and writing were far different mediums because an informal style of writing hadn’t developed yet. Today, the two are much more comparable.
The old style writing culture, the highly prepared & formal style, comes out of an America that celebrated it’s literacy and use of language, it took pride in writing, it…
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