Jay re "

Your simplified pronunciation reform gets me thinking...

A quick review of Greek, Hebrew, Roman, and Arabic alphabets suggests that alphabets get simpler over time. You are taking the next logical step.

Perhaps they have been regularly simplified as the alphabet has gained wider use. The more people using it, the less educated those people are likely to be, and the greater the pressure to simplify to make it easier on the reader.

Perhaps it is driven by the methods and technology of reproduction. When only a few people used an alphabet the recipients of scribes' work were few so the scribes had low productivity goals. As reading become more popular the productivity demands increased so they simplified the letters so they could work faster. I would suppose that the first printing press was constrained by the strength of the metal used for the movable type. Weak, soft metal formed into letters of great detail will wear out quicker than simple shapes. It also helped to have each letter take up the same amount of space so the layout could be easily planned.

Written communication is becoming more important in high technology cultures. Email and written plans are gaining in importance. Our participation in jot's little experiment here is a part of our growing reliance on writing. [Feint: All sorts of thoughts on the geographic dispersal of community and our desperate attempts to stay connected to those we love occur to me but will need to wait further reflection. End Feint]

So, we have 2 trends: alphabets are getting simpler and computer facilitated writing is growing in quantity and value. I believe we will see increased evolution of our alphabets and structure of written language. Emoticons are early examples of the next stage in the evolution of our written symbols.

Evolution will be very slow. Many variants will be launched and spread throughout the population. Most will wither and fade. A few will stick and become part of language.

I predict that by the time we all die emoticons will no longer be trite and annoying indicators of a person's inability to express themselves in words. They will be listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

July 2001