texting

5.3.15: Words, Words, Words

May 1, 2015
Logan Shannon / NHPR

Today’s show is all about words –written, spoken, or spelled – starting with the emotional, and surprisingly partisan debate over whether to continue teaching cursive. Later in the show we’ll explore the art of inventing new words and languages. And, how do you spell stereotype? We’ll discuss the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which has been won by an Indian American student every year since 2007.  

http://narrativesinemoji.tumblr.com/

While emojis have become a universal cellular language, the origin of the modern-day hieroglyphic is actually rooted in Japan. Inspired by Manga, or Japanese comics, designer Shigetaka Kurita created the early blueprint of the modern-day emoji as a way to motivate Japanese teens to buy pagers in the late-nineties. 

Since then emojis have become a fixture of digital communication. While some decry emoji-culture as a linguistic fast track to the erosion of language, some intellectual and artistic circles are welcoming emoticons with open arms.

David Goehring via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/4mMuQE

After Walter Scott was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last month, his family speculated he fled the police because he feared going back to jail for unpaid child support. On today’s show: a closer look at child support policies and why some argue it keeps poor men trapped in a cycle of debt, unemployment and prison. 

Then, the modern answer to hieroglyphics, emoji can convey tone and emotion in a single image. Later we’ll delve into emoji use around the world, and what it reveals about cultural and national identities. 

Colin Dunn via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7GCv8P

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years. But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. On today’s show, we’ll look at the history and science behind a largely unregulated market. Plus, a new hotline for emotionally distressed teens aims to help teens by communicating in a space where they feel comfortable – via text message.     

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

IntelFreePress / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has unanimously upheld a Barnstead man’s conviction for second-degree assault after he veered into the oncoming lane while checking a text message.

IntelFreePress via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire's Supreme Court will decide whether reading a text message while driving is a crime, even though it's not barred by law.

Thirty-year-old Chad Belleville, of Barnstead, is serving a 3 ½-to-7-year sentence for second-degree assault and vehicular assault related to a December 2010 car accident in Pittsfield that seriously injured a teenager.

Belleville's lawyer argues that reading a text message on his phone amounted to a momentary distraction, not reckless or negligent conduct.

Here’s another sign that personal technology has penetrated nearly every part of our lives – Boston Globe Health Reporter and blogger Deborah Kotz recently wrote about a newly recognized medical phenomenon called “dystextia”


How has technology changed the ways that we interact with one another? Sherry Turkle's Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other is the third in a trilogy exploring this question. Social networking, e-mail and texting, Turkle says, provide the façade of socialization but ultimately leave their users dissatisfied and disconnected. It may be time to reflect and reconsider the role we really want technology to play in our lives.

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