Back to the Future


GFR gets down with some cake-blogging:

As blogs move us into a less heavily copy-edited world, I sometimes wonder if we’re moving back into a more 16th and 17th century form of writing, where the idea of correct spelling was less important than the communication of meaning — which, in reality, can be accomplished just as well with incorrectly spelled words and homonyms as with a more perfect language. And also: as we move ever deeper into this new world of speech-like writing, will the perfect, formal language of the page one day seem as antique and elaborate as Victorian silverware?

It's plausible. Many people have remarked that political blogging has certain affinities with the pamphleteering tradition of the 17th and 18th century, so perhaps the idea of shifting toward the stylistic elements of that era should be expected as well. The fundamentally international nature of the internet can push in this direction as well. English words have different "correct" spellings in different English-speaking countries, so insofar as people become accustomed to reading foreign websites they'll get used to reading a lot of misspelled words. Or, rather, to having a more flexible concept of what the significance of spelling is.