Friday, 8 October 2010

business language - business letters

Someone said to me on Twitter today:

I bet BrE (dunno abt AmE) business language has changed drastically in the last 50 yrs or less. All that "your esteemed favour of the 11th ultimo" stuff was around within living memory.
Ok, maybe not your living memory.  But it struck me that this could be an area for a project.  How has the way in which companies correspond with customers changed, for instance?  Or within companies, how did they communicate?  Do changes come with the shift from paper memos to email?  Did they come with the social liberalisation of the 60s/70s? What is formality now versus formality then?  One could even just look at a particular part of communication--how do people introduce a topic, greet, sign off?

I've not offered a particular question or a methodology here (nor have I pre-researched it), but if one had access to, say a family business with long records, or looked into what public archives might be available, there could be some interesting areas to explore...

1 comment:

  1. Also related to this idea - personal letters. There are collections of personal letters available (e.g. in Mass Obs) and there have been significant changes in things like signing off. For example, until very recently nobody put kisses at the end of a letter. I guess this also relates to the signing off in text/IM conversations?