It is conceivable that, within the wide realm of possibility, members of the” smart-phone” sub-culture would suddenly find themselves confronted with the presence of real (as opposed to “virtual”) people, making necessary the employment by them of acceptable and meaningful vocabulary. Such interaction would be an exotic one for the “dude” and “diva” after having acculturated themselves to “text talk” and the style of data-like transmissions in the changing patois du jour. Real words, spoken by recognizable voices, with nuance and personal expression for them would be” retro”, if not extinct.
The folkways of our modern era are not at all to be compared with those of the polite society of our distraught Jane Austen. We reference her times only to illuminate our point. In Jane’s day, as an example, on the occasion of the meeting of individuals, greetings and niceties would be exchanged in keeping with the protocol of the day; a possible scenario might be:
“My good Mr. Chillingout, I would request the honor and extreme pleasure of presenting to you the learned Reverend, M. Theo Logica, formerly of Kent, presently occupying the living as the Vicar of St. Jules, Plinytown, North Sylvieshire.”
Reverend Logica, in turn, would be the recipient of similar formalities. It is conceivable that the ensuing conversation might be somewhat briefer than the traditional dance of the introduction. However, in its day, traditional protocol and ceremony might have been useful in the peaceful acknowledgment of the relative status enjoyed by the diverse people concerned.
In the “modern era,” the introductory choreography, happily, was simplified and made less formal, ex:
“Joe Blogworthy, I would like you to meet my next door neighbor, Ken C. Google.”
The response then called for would be something like” Hi,” or “Glad to meet you.” This style of exchange is certainly sufficient and acceptable.
However, as a direct and proximate result of the emergence and exponential increase in electronic communication (smart phone e-mail and texting) simple, meaningful conversation, for many people went the way of the Dodo bird. The comfortable pleasure of identifiable verbal conversation atrophied and descended into an electronic transmission of code-like letter symbols. At first, the phrase “What’s up” (not a question, only a substitute for “hello”) then the more primitive, “s ‘up”. The next phase was the atavistic development of further symbols, such as “lol”, “omg” and the disgraceful others. This reversal of evolutionary progress seems to portend a return to the Neanderthal “grunt.” We would cry with Jane.
It is now evidentiary history that the nature of human conversation vastly declined contemporaneous with the advent of the “smartphone” (see blogs #3 and #25).
Evolutionary biologists, long ago, singled out the development of the opposable thumb as immensely significant in the evolution of primates and other higher forms of life. They would certainly cry with Jane to learn that such evolutionary advance (seen by them as destined to enable the use and development of tools) as a valuable survival and growth dynamic, instead became the main implement of retrograde individuals who would ignorantly reverse the progress of human, highly evolved, speech and language as a unique capability developed over the vast millennia.
Grunt, Grunt, Snarl!
Addendum: Sadly, it seems that the institution and aesthetically pleasing practice of letter correspondence has also gone the way of the Dodo and the Mammoth.