Correction!

Correction!

There are many changes impinging on letter-writing due to technological developments associated with computers, smartphones and tablets. One of these with major implications concerns software designed to ‘correct faults’ in writing. The names of the apps concerned won’t be mentioned, simple searches including in an app library will provide examples. These are software which has the capacity to change a piece of writing into what developers see as a grammatically and otherwise correct form. There are many issues that arise, including that what is ‘correct’ is often a matter of cultural preferences clashing with each other, as with the greater reliance on the comma in American English as compared with English English. Such software also irons out the idiosyncrasies and locally-prevailing conventions in how particular people write their letters or related forms like email. All the aspects that particularly interest those of us concerned with analysing letters and letter-writing are targeted in the name of supposed correct forms.

What will happen to epistolary studies under such circumstances, will the focus instead be on software developers, their networks and defining practices? What happens to notions of authorship? How to track changes in writing practices over time, when it becomes a matter of whose practices should be the pivot?

Last updated: 3 March 2023


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