Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.
leahket 120000BBPE Visits (966)
Letter writing has been pared down to emails, punctuated with emoticons and acronyms that measure mood on a richter scale of laughter:
;-) lol rofl lmao roflmao
Whenever possible, I text instead of call, reducing storyline buildup to an ellipsis. Three dots of suspension ... the only clue the plot might be getting interesting. And, I can't remember the last time I visited a neighbor face-to-face. Hmmm, maybe once I get a web cam.
This awareness threatens to transform me into a digital curmudgeon. I find myself gravitating toward news stories that prove the quest for the faster, easier, more convenient actually masks inherent, slow-to-recognize losses.
This week's "Ah ha, I knew it !!" moment is brought to you by Chinese dysgraphia, a strange new form of illiteracy that is peculiar to China, specifically the young, highly educated, tech-savvy strata that make up the face of 21st century China.
With texting and typing replacing the elaborate strokes of written Chinese, more and more Chinese are realizing they can no longer remember how to write the Chinese characters for everyday words.
Researchers find the more gadgets people own — cellphones, smart phones, computers — the less often they go through the elaborate sequence of strokes that make up Chinese characters. Whether on their computers or texting on phones, most Chinese use a system where they type out the sound of the word in Pinyin, the most commonly used Romanization system — and smart apps give a choice of best guess characters to use.
In China, the situation rises to the level of a cultural crisis since the characters, more than any other facet of life, epitomize thousands of years of tradition. Chinese is the oldest continuously used writing system in the world; the characters used today can be traced to pictographs found on bones and turtle shells dating to 1200 BC.
The Chinese government is taking notice. In 2008, the Education Ministry surveyed 3,000 teachers around the country and found 60% complaining about declining writing ability. As a result, the ministry last year launched a writing competition with 10 million participants and has begun pilot programs to make students do more handwriting.
So, thousands of years of writing tradition, dust in the wind ... unless, of course, Steve Jobs comes out with a Chinese calligraphy app, and soon.