American University
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The future of written culture : envisioning language in the new millennium

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posted on 2023-08-04, 05:39 authored by Naomi S. Baron

In the course of the past three centuries, much of Europe was transformed from an oral culture into one that was fundamentally grounded in the printed word. Print culture flowered for more than 200 years. However, thanks, in large part, to fundamental social changes, coupled with significant developments in writing technologies, the future of written culture as we have known it is increasingly in question. This paper identifies specific parameters that historically came to define written culture and considers the viability of these parameters in the new millennium. Particular emphasis is given to the role of the computer (and computer-based technologies) in reshaping our relationship with both the written and the printed word. While the discussion focuses on the United States, the paper’s conclusions should resonate in other contemporary societies in which similar technological and social variables are at work.





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