We recently wrote about Sir Isaac Pitman, our founder who invented shorthand way back in the mid-19th century, and that a recently BBC Radio Four documentary had described him as a ‘social visionary with astounding business acumen’.
This made us think that it’s all well and good him being described as this now, in the 21st century world, but what did people really make of him – and the system of business ‘language’ that he created – at the time? Was shorthand immediately embraced as a revolution back then, or did it take a while to catch on? Most journalists and secretaries/PAs use shorthand because they know it’s the most efficient way of taking notes when time is of the essence, so why doesn’t everyone else?
Many people don’t like the use of text speak, and say it devalues the beauty of the English (or any other) language. But if a point is made, and people understand it, does it really matter whether you drop a few words and vowels here and there?
For anyone who’s read or studied Chaucer – widely known as the Father of English Literature – you can see how language has developed over many hundreds of years. To our 21st century eye, 14th century English takes a bit of getting your head around, but once you read it out loud it very quickly starts to make sense.
The same might be said for shorthand, text speak, email familiarities and now SpeedWriting. Yes, there’s a place for beautifully written prose, sharply written and accurate articles and a well told story. But if it’s about getting a message across as quickly and efficiently as possible, well then surely we’d all like to learn about that for business, wouldn’t we?
Do you love or loathe text speak? Do you think it’s going to change the way we write – over time – for the better or worse? We’d love to know what you think, so please share your comments below.