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LINGOWISE: Classic literature & sms

Texting is an educational resource now. and a some mobile-phone service plans to condense works of literature into sms for students.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 17:16 IST

So texting is an educational resource now. Dot mobile, a British mobile-phone service aimed at students, says it plans to condense classic works of literature into SMS text messages.

Though academic purists are horrified, John Sutherland, the professor who was consulted on the project, says the texts could act as a useful memory aid. Books planned for the service include Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, whose tale of the interminable legal suit is reduced to a few lines, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which describes hunky Mr Darcy as fit & loadd (that’s handsome and wealthy).

A lot has been written by academic purists about the sms-ed version of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy To be or not to be, that is the question, which has been compressed to 2b? Nt2b? ?. The lines from Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, The devil is kicked out of heaven because he is jealous of Jesus and starts a war, also seems destined to shed words. The sms-ed version would be devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus & strts war.
And, this is the future of Shakespeare too Romeo, Romeo wher4 Rt thou Romeo?
In anticipation of Dot’s service, a lot of people are having fun creating sms-ed versions of classics. Here’s a take on Pride and Prejudice: 5SistrsWntngHsbnds. NwMenIn Twn-Bingly & Darcy Fit&Loadd. BigSisJaneFals4B, 2ndSisLizH8s DCozHesProud. SlimySoljrWikam SysDHsShadyPast.
TrnsOutHes ActulyARlyNysGuy&RlyFancysLiz.
SheDecydsSheLyksHim.
Evry1GtsMaryd.
The academic purists are right. With text messaging of classics we sure will miss out on the imagery, the irony, and the nuance of literature.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 17:16 IST