Tutor profile: Marisa L.
How has the written word helped human progress and growth?
Before reading and writing was commonplace, communities would have a story-teller: someone who memorizes the communities histories and stories, and repeats them back in order to teach the younger generation. Because everything had to be memorized, there was a finite amount that could be learned and repeated back. Only the most important stories, with lessons for survival and growth, would be remembered. With writing, we are able to document so much more than these storytellers were ever able to memorize. Now, anyone can contribute to history - look at how many diaries and journals have been published, giving us insight into an individual's life that we may not have seen otherwise. The more insight and information we have, the more we can learn and grow as a society. And, since the information is written and documented, we don't have to memorize every single detail, leaving more brainpower to learn more facts and bits of information. On a personal scale, writing gives every person an opportunity for growth and reflection. As an adult, I cannot recall the specific thoughts and ideas I had as a child. By reading my journal, though, I am able to track my progression, question what I used to think, and develop new ideas and habits based off my own data. On a grander scale, I can then publish that journal and share it with anyone who may be interested. Humans are all unique and different and individual, so my story my not apply to or be relevant to everyone, but there will be some who identify with me, and find my story helpful or supportive to their lives. We can form communities and sub-communities that relate to each other by sharing writing and personal experiences. Writing is an incredible tool that helps spread information and communication. To be able to write coherently opens the door to be part of this history and growth.
People are communicating more and more everyday, and on a grander scale with the introduction of social media platforms. In an attempt to speed up this already instantaneous form of communication, many people have become lax with grammar and spelling. Is this the future of the English language, or is it still important to understand the basics and rules of grammar?
While the Oxford Dictionary adds new words on a yearly basis in order to grow and evolve with the way we speak and communicate, the English language as a whole evolves somewhat slowly to ensure all the people speaking the language are able to still understand and communicate together. For example: younger writers today often use abbreviations to say more with fewer letters - something that is important when using a social media platform that limits the number of characters you can post per thought. However, in order to create this abbreviation, they have to understand what the original phrase was. "OMG" doesn't really get your point across if the reader doesn't understand what the letters stand for. This is an over-simplified example - a person can easily explain to another who isn't "up on the trends" that "OMG" really stands for "Oh My God" - but many of the abbreviations and emoticons used to replace words are not fully-understood by all English speakers, and leads to a breakdown in communication. Socially, this may not be as big of a deal, but in the professional world, it can mean the difference between you getting the job or someone else. It is not easy to remember all of those grammatical rules and regulations involved in the English language, but knowing how to write and communicate efficiently will help to ensure you are both understood and taken seriously in a professional setting.
What is the difference between talking and communicating?
A person can talk all day, and never truly communicate. Communication requires talking with or to another individual in an effort to share ideas, news and information. Humans are social creatures. We like to share things that we learn and find interesting, and this sharing of information is part of what helps our community learn and grow and improve for the future generations, because it gives us an opportunity to receive additional information on the subject in order to gain a better understanding. Talking is not always necessary for communication, either. When two people do not speak the same language, they can still pantomime or point to physical examples in order to communicate. Just like talking, however, there are many ways to communicate, and the approach you use will directly affect your ability to improve understanding. Two people arguing and yelling at each other about why each one believes he is right is, in definition only, a form of communication, but it usually does not lead to understanding because neither person is listening or processing what the other is saying. When we are able to talk to each other in ways that promote understanding, growth and learning, we become more efficient communicators, and not just talkers.
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