Thursday, October 15, 2009

An etymology of texting

I take the elusive object, text messaging, as one of the objects i am studying, and find that far from a flat unidimensional subject, this simple question takes me into multidimesional spaces.
I could consider the unexpected with traces of ink on a page that with sufficient magnification would bring to me a three dimensional view of ink on textured paper, or of a two dimensional imaging of pixels involving an intensity of variable coloured light shining on a flat screen.
However neither of these descriptions provides substantive meaning. I turn instead to considering text as a synergistic whole rather than as a sum of its parts. Taking the latin derivative 'texere', text involves a weaving, a bringing together. There would be no ability for a text message to communicate were it not for a writer as well as a reader. There is then need to consider text as making a 'coherent whole' (Noth, 1990,p332). In the processes also there would be no communication of such a message were it not carried through a medium that transcends time and space. A weaving is required in transmitting thoughts from one person to another. In this study such a weaving is multidimensional for the means of transmission required multiple actors to make it so.

This study of text traces pathways through the three dimensional terrain by following the actors involved. I explore the text(ure) following actors through the tightly knotted as well as the loosely woven threads, but it is also my intention that it is a symphonic texture that is held at the end of such travels. It is not my intent to unravel what is, but instead to create conscious regard for the cloth that is woven.

Textile: ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting a woven fabric or something resembling this): from Latin textura ‘weaving,’ from text- ‘woven,’ from the verb texere.

Text: ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old Northern French texte, from Latin textus ‘tissue, literary style’ (in medieval Latin, ‘Gospel’ ), from text- ‘woven,’ from the verb texere.

Nöth, W. (1990). Handbook of semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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