Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ The surprisingly subtle ways Microsoft Word has changed how we use language

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I think that this article gives MS Word too much credit. For example, it says "Word templates led people to use the same formatting in communications, and eventually, this has become instantiated as a norm." But I remember very clearly being taught how to format things (such as 'the business letter') long before word processors were a thing. Similarly, the story states, "grammar and spelling features in word processors such as Word 'enforce established language norms'". These were also enforced by high school teachers, and more significantly, by publishers. I've had numerous disputes over the years with publishers insisting on American spelling and elimination of the use of idiomatic expressions. All this leads to the oft-heard lament that "a potential over-reliance on automation could discourage users from actively learning and improving their linguistic and written skills." *sigh*

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: May 20, 2024 01:14 a.m.

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