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Email: Superior or inferior to Snail Mail?

Surfers Respond

Extracts from an article in the Gulf Today dt 28th Jan, 2002:

E-mails are almost always inferior to letters. Some liken it to writing on water, which beg to be deleted. According to recent research (for MSN Hotmail), e-mail is promoting rampant illiteracy. Non-letter writers are said to be offending in cyberspace using e-mail as a kind of power tool -- all abbreviations and capital letters to suggest that they are too busy to press the shift key down and careless misspellings -- much to the irritation of conservatives, who insist on preserving good writing as a form of politeness. They hate ignoring upper case and pushing ahead with lower case as is common with e-mails.

The snail-mail was no anonymous letter but a purposeful long-distance affair that had a romantic touch in a utopian sense. There was no need for fancy gadgets called computers or Internet connections. All it took were a few pieces of paper and some drops of ink, which together with creative words formed instant art.

What do you think of this Email phenomenon that has consigned old-fashioned letter writing to the realms of history? Do the niceties of the English language suffer as a result of Emails, especially among the younger generation? Will Snail-mail ever make a comeback?
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Surfers Respond

Farhan Qadir
It's been years since I received hand written letters and to be honest I crave for them. Those familiar writings, particular styles and beautiful writing sheets that have a message to convey. No doubt e-mails are prompt but it lacks personal touch. The connection established is only external. And yes, it has destroyed the language with all the short forms in use. I do send and receive e mails regularly but often I have problem comprehending messages, especially those sent by youngsters, for example terms like cya(see you) ritesoon(write soon. The one good thing is it keeps you connected.
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Nuzhat Baig
Yes, I agree that users do manipulate the English language in not only E-mails, but perhaps every article or website created personally. There is much too less of reality in E-mails now than what we feel in a hand-written letter. You feel less connected and less attached thru an E-mail. Although thoughtful it maybe, but the feeling of closeness you get thru' recieveing a SNAIL-MAIL, as they say, is more or less absent in an email. Moreover, nobody really has the TIME to actually sit peacefully and write a letter to anyone. Just hop in, sit, connect, type 3 lines to the most 5 lines, unless and until it has something to do with MONEY, and rush out!!! Well, usually mentioned, GOTTA RUSH!!! most of the time e are left wondering ARE THEY REALLY WORKING SO HARD!!! For all you know they might be RUSHING for a party or gym!!!! However, when we sit to a write a letter it takes lot of time, effort and observation, to actually write one which not only sends a message across but also makes the bonds stronger through the words used and the fact that is hand-written with an effort!!!
Certainly, the younger generation is at a loss not having known the fundamentals of writing a letter be it Formal or an Informal one. It is one of the best ways you can ever bond with someone far away from you. Also the opportunites to stick those cute stickers on ,saying MISS YOU etc.. with a cute teddy and stuff are lost.
It's sad to hear kids say; "WHY DO WE HAVE TO LEARN TO WRITE A LETTER WHEN WE CAN E-MAIL!!!" Little do they know the joy of knowing someone has WRITTEN TO YOU and taking the pain to POST IT!!!
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Anjali
Manipulation of English Language is quite common as the usage of MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and email becomes increasingly popular. But in the advanced world of today, since people lead hectic & frenzied life styles, there is hardly any time to communicate with friends, relatives, etc. The email facilitates a constant touch with our loved ones. I, for one, hardly have the time to call up my friends based here in the UAE, but regularly send and receive mails from my acquaintances abroad. Although, the language is suffering, I do adore the cute NET LINGO. It is friendly and comfortable. BCNU – Be seeing you or TTFN – Ta Ta For Now are expressions which are being adapted rapidly by the youth of today and they think its KEWL (cool). Yes, the sad thing is that the personal touch has almost vanished. No longer do we receive hand written letters; even birthday cards and greetings for festive occasions are sent through the Internet. The world may be getting smaller, but the distance in relationships is getting wider. In conclusion, there are advantages and disadvantages of the email phenomenon, but what’s important is keeping in touch, don’t you agree? So let’s not shun this communication altogether. OK, TTFN (Oops here v go again!)
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Beckster D'Mello
There is nothing like receiving a letter via snail mail, it gives one the feeling of warmth and a special bond. Why? Well firstly, it takes that long to actually write a letter, than it does to type one out. Secondly, all the mess that occurs whilst writing is the whole point of writing the letter, that's what makes it so special. Ever wonder how smooth and flowing an email can or could be. The reason is that you can correct mistakes, you can insert sentences whereever its missed. you can use beautiful font faces and sizes. But people always use abbreviations and short cuts like "How r u 2day?". What's so special in that, its fine between friends who chat everyday, but what about that relative who has not heard from you in 4 years, or perhaps a penpal you used to write to often or maybe your loved one, who enjoyed the beauty of your handwriting. A letter is special. It puts a smile on people's faces. Nowadays, you often hear, "Its been so long since I received a letter from..."
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Darren
There was so much attention paid to a formal/informal letter sent by post. You paid meticulous attention to the spellings, grammer, and the language before putting it in the envelope and plopping it through the post box. But with the advent of emails, how things have changed! Young people couldn't care less, they saucily expose their bad English and misspellings in their emails. Even in emails applying for jobs, they can't be bothered. I am appalled at the quality of emails I receive from job aspirants at my office email address. Since even school kids have email IDs nowadays, I feel it is the duty of teachers to enforce correct email writing from a young age. Otherwise, good writing will die a slow death!
Mehmoona Ahmed
Nothing can beat the thrill of recognizing a familiar handwriting, especially if you are abroad and terribly homesick. No one denies the convenience of e-mails. It has made the world a much smaller space and distances are no longer a problem. But, an e-mail from my best friend and one from my boss looks much the same. The same electronic 'paper', and usually the same font as well (unless my friend takes the trouble to experiment with whole new fonts, which she does at times!). So, the tangible pleasure of feeling the texture of the paper, of seeing the slant of some letters, infact of even trying to read something that has been scratched out (it gives an excellent insight into what she was impulsively thinking of writing, before better sense prevailed!) - all that is completely absent in e-mails. Infact, earlier I used to pester my parents and close friends to send me conventional, postal mails, just for the love of holding it in my hands and opening the envelope and seeing the sheets of paper neatly folded!

And yes, another factor that really irks me about e-mails is its deadly promptness! One tends to dash of an email in the heat of the moment to regret sending it, the minute the send button has been clicked. Whereas in a conventional letter since one has to make the effort to buy stamps, and post it, one gets that much more time to think twice about posting something which should not be sent in the first place!
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Sanjay Batheja
I agree with the statement 100% - email is slowly corrupting the English language and there is no such thing as a grammatical error instead they term it as a stylish approach to the same word, sounding chic. You will not believe how it destroys your English till you start writing a formal letter online and will replace all the YOUs with 'U'.
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Nripendra Sunita
It's been years since I received hand written letters and to be honest I crave for them. Those familiar writings, particular styles and beautiful writing sheets that have a message to convey. No doubt e-mails are prompt but it lacks personal touch. The connection established is only external. And yes, it has destroyed the language with all the short forms in use. I do send and receive e mails regularly but often I have problem comprehending messages, especially those sent by youngsters, for example terms like cya(see you) ritesoon(write soon. The one good thing is it keeps you connected.
Submit your views


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