Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Language of the Future

In her piece, The Language of the Future, Laurie Anderson is addressing an issue that people have always, and will always face, language and its constant change. As she stands in front of a crowd, wearing a silver suit and speaking into a voice changer, she is creating a ‘futuristic’ persona for herself. She tells a story of a plane crash, in which the pilot and the flight attendants advise the passengers, “Please do not panic…We are going down…We are all going down together”. After surviving the crash, the narrator, Anderson, tells the story of a conversation she has with a young girl on another flight. The girl seems to speaking another language, one that Anderson calls computerese. This language is constructed of words like circuitry, electronics, and switching, everything seems to be referring to the new digital age.

Although this language is foreign to Anderson, it is not a language that this young girl speaks alone. As time passes, societies, cultures, and languages change, this shift is inevitable. This is not the language of the future, it is the language of the current society. There is really no way that one can know what the future holds and what terms and trends will be common, you just have to take it as it comes and be in a constant stage of adjusting and learning. No one can exclude themselves from this change, like the pilot says, “We are all going down together”.

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