The oral tradition begat the printing press and the bounded book, which begat our touchscreen civilization, which begat much hand-wringing about the fate of language. It's easy to bemoan the informality and spontaneity of ubiquitous, democratized communication in all its forms—especially if you're willing to dismiss the democratization. But the ability to communicate across cultures and distance has never been greater, and technology increasingly provides translation across media, languages, and cultures in real time.
Join Future Tense in New York on Wednesday, March 29, for a happy hour conversation on how new and emerging technologies are changing the way we speak, write, and communicate. Will language be richer or poorer for it? For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
Poet and author, Last Sext
Linguist and associate professor of English and comparative literature, Columbia University
Language columnist, the Wall Street Journal
Words correspondent, Slate