It feels like the English language is in a state of flux – emojis popping up in place of words; 140 character limits tossing grammar out the window; initialism sneaking into our messages… LMK if you agree. And what’s up with multiple vowels trend? Seems a little excessive, riiiiight? How many times have you heard a kid say the letters LOL or BTW as if they were actual full-fledged words rather than acronyms. It’s enough to drive a tried-and-true word-lover ‘round the bend. If you’re suffering from FOMO in this ever-changing language landscape, you’re not alone. Sometimes it feels like we’ve fallen into the rabbit hole. There must be something more to all this nonsense – some hidden meaning that we’ve yet to understand. After all, the English language has been evolving for as long as it’s been alive. We can’t blame Twitter or texting for the shrinking communication trend – we’ve been tossing around ASAP, RSVP and OK for as long as we can remember. It’s just happening at a higher velocity. The trifecta of technology-access-immediacy is prompting this generation to communicate beyond words, both online and IRL.
Imagine how lucky we are to be living in this pivotal moment in the time-space continuum – the world literally in the palm of our hands. The power to galvanize whole nations with a single photograph – or word, or symbol. The power to rework a famous masterpiece, or tear down a hero with a simple meme. The power to discourage or encourage; to build or destroy. How we choose to use this intoxicating communication tool shapes our reality. And somehow we think it all hinges on how early we teach our children to read, write, and navigate the digital terrain. We’re pretty sure there’s more to it than that. Literacy is about how well we read the world. Not just the written world but the spaces between and beyond words – the unspoken, unwritten, unheard, undiscovered, unshared pieces of nature and humanity. Are we giving kids the tools they need to read those worlds?
What would happen if we unstructured language and communication – if we taught children to scan for new meaning beyond our own beliefs and assumptions. Would we accuse them of butchering ‘our’ language or would we recognize the wisdom of communicating on a more emojional level? If we have the courage to walk beside children on the same path we’ve always taken, we might just discover things we’ve never notice before. We might just discover that when we step back and entrust children with the job of decoding their world, they might just move us beyond words.
See you at the exhibit!
Simone and Aviva