With Responses From
Apr 1, 2014
1 Min read time
The Future of Writing in English
After being released from a concentration camp and becoming an exile in Shanghai, Charles K. Bliss invented a language of no sounds. A writing system of symbols to circumvent speech, its manipulations. Ideographic. Ideo. Idea. Ideal as the space between mind and page as silent.
In the future, English writing more and more becomes the opposite of this. Each word must be said aloud before it appears on the screen. Seeing, without saying—that’s the manipulation. From voice, which has become content the way sex is the subtext. The flesh of meaning.
English adopts a notational system of dots and dashes above and between words to approximate tone, to make the speaking silently talk. We can’t trust them, the words, to be the mind behind. A dot. A dash. The speech within speech.
In 2013, a Canadian company released the program ToneCheck that screens emails for potentially conflict-causing language. Post-meeting anger: alert. Late night reach/bite toward a lost lover: don’t.
In Future English, the thread of feeling in each word has become an overt overture, a prioritized primal focal point. Words are color-coded according to an emotional template based on the smallest fluctuations of pulse and temperature in the tips of fingers. What do we encode into words with our bodies as we speak? There is technology for this. It’s right there in red red red.
I just want to say. I have been. I think about. Now you know.
With a feeling,
While we have you...
...we need your help. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. It also means that we count on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, help us keep it free for everyone by making a donation. No amount is too small. You will be helping us cultivate a public sphere that honors pluralism of thought for a diverse and discerning public.