Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 136

The lost art of letter writing

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by : 
HannahW

Over recent years, letter writing has been replaced by other ways of communicating. Technology has developed so rapidly that we now expect to be able to talk to people instantly - and get a response from them almost straight away. Rather than putting pen to paper, for most of us it now feels much more natural to send texts and emails, quickly typing out our message within seconds.

Of course, there are advantages to these modern ways of communicating. We live in a fast-paced world and it’s important we keep up. We can chat to people all over the globe, within seconds! We can also edit our emails before we send them, whereas if we made a mistake on a letter, we’d be forced to cross it out or start again.

But do we ever think about what we are losing? By forgetting about the art of letter writing, I think we’re missing out. Hugely.

I don’t know a single person who would say that they didn’t enjoy receiving a letter through the post. There’s something very special about knowing that someone has taken the time to write a hand-written letter for you. It doesn’t have to be full of important news- after all, most of our texts and emails to friends are just chatting about normal things, but it feels so much more personal to receive just one letter from someone than to receive the hundreds of texts we get every week.

And it’s not only the person receiving the letter who will benefit from a lovely envelope appearing through their door. I really do think that letter writing can help the writer, too. In a similar way to keeping a diary, writing a letter to a friend can feel very therapeutic. Plus, when we know we’re doing something that will make a friend very happy, we feel good ourselves! And let’s not forget, without the letters written between various individuals in history, we wouldn’t know half as much about their lives. I recently read the letters of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and learnt so much about him. When you read a letter, whether it’s one written to you personally from a friend, or a published letter from an important figure in history, it’s as if his or her own words are jumping off the page.

Let’s begin the letter writing revolution! Who’s on board?

Discussion

Do you write letters to your friends? Do you think that letter writing is an important method of communicating, or should we just move on to more modern ways of talking to people? 

Comments

sararosita's picture
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sararosita 12 August, 2014 - 23:06

First of all when i read this text i remember some of the best moments in my life when i receive a letter from my friends espicially in my birthday i've been always waiting for theire letters it's really a good thing that we forget now .For me writing a letter has lot of advantages because you improve your language skills and you learn some new expressions even if it takes lot of you time also when you receive a letter you can keep it as a memory and whenever you can read it but electronic emails aren't as important as written letters you can even remove them as soon as you read them but in some urgent cases you'll be obliged to send an electronic letter .

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32 users have voted.
beyourself15rock's picture
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beyourself15rock 12 July, 2014 - 19:19

I want to cry when I realize in what time I live. In time where most of people are 'cold'. They have forgotten the true human values. I don't write letters to friends often. Just for some special events. I think the letter writing is an important method of communicating. It's romantic and beautiful! We can't compared writing letters with e-mails.We should 'back' to this method of communicating!

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43 users have voted.
SemaSou's picture
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SemaSou 12 June, 2014 - 01:06

No one can deny that writing a letter has a charm that no electronic message can give. In fact letters are a way richer with deep and profound meannings and hold a significant part of the sender whether it was reflected on the handwriting ,the style of the text , as letters need a full plan and a correct language to be written which isn't the case with the other methods of communication, the care we give to the design and the choice of paper , envelope and all these tiny things that we use to neglect ... all these details contribute to emphasize the fact that letters have always been and remain one of the most sensual , emotional and expressive ways of communication with the advantage of having the opportunity of saving the letter for generations as a nostalgic reference to old epochs and redwelling on the beautiful times through these vivid testimonies . So who would dare deny that waiting for an expected letter or receiving an unexpected one is always anchored either to a certain unreplacable eagerness or to an euphoric surprise.?

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42 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 12 June, 2014 - 08:16

Hi SemaSou. I really enjoyed reading your comment. While I entirely agree with you, I think it's hard to find the time to write a letter by hand in the modern world. Technology is making everything faster and saving us so much time and I think most people would rather write an email or text message these days than writing a letter, as that takes more concentration and time. But that's a real shame because, like you said, it's such a pleasure to receive a letter, open the envelope, feel the paper and look at the handwriting. It gives you a feeling of nostalgia and romance. Do you write letters?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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46 users have voted.
HannahW's picture
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HannahW 13 May, 2014 - 09:40

It's never too late to start writing letters again- perhaps you'll think of someone you'd like to send a letter to in the next few days. 

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32 users have voted.
justcricketforme's picture
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justcricketforme 11 May, 2014 - 04:14

I once sent a letter to my cousin in the UK since it was a school activity and we had to send a letter to our friends or family abroad. I think letter writing is complicated, I mean you need to put it in a envelope stamp it and take trips to the post office whereas in SMS and e-mails, we just have to type the address, the text and click send,

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44 users have voted.
Shimty's picture
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Shimty 10 June, 2014 - 05:29

Yes, it's true in your point of view. I also agree writing a letter & sending through post is little tough. But, letter writing is a traditional way of communicating.

If you have never experienced the emotional bearing of a letter, try digging out an old love letter or a letter bearing sad news, grab a nice hot cuppa and read the letter while relaxing on a rocking chair, hammock or a bean bag.

You are likely to be overcome with a gush of emotions that may even leave you in a state of trance, thinking about the person who sent the letter and the happy times you spent with them.

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33 users have voted.
HannahW's picture
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HannahW 13 May, 2014 - 09:43

I wonder whether you didn't enjoy the task of writing your cousin a letter because you were asked to do it at school? Perhaps one day you will choose to send a friend a letter in the post and it won't feel like a piece of work. But you're right, it does take more effort to send a letter. We're so lucky that we have the option of texts and emails too!

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37 users have voted.
serap's picture
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serap 7 May, 2014 - 19:07

I really love to write letters for my special ones. I have written letters for my two friends. And I think writing letter is really cool and it makes someone feel more special than the other communication ways do.

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37 users have voted.
HannahW's picture
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HannahW 13 May, 2014 - 09:37

I agree, there is something very special about receiving a handwritten letter. It is a unique feeling that you can't get through texting or emailing. 

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34 users have voted.
AnD's picture
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AnD 6 May, 2014 - 07:26

For 13 years I used only e-mails :) But last year I met a girl, Maria, who helped me to re-open the art of letter writing. When I wanted to give her my e-mail, Facebook and Skype, she stopped me, and told, that even e-mail, Facebook and Skype together won't be worth one simple paper letter. She was right, and I'm grateful to her for that advice. Her letters will be with me, with remembers of her and the great art of letter writing! Thank you, Maria!

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48 users have voted.
HannahW's picture
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HannahW 6 May, 2014 - 20:15

Hi AnD, it sounds like your friend Maria has really encouraged you to start writing letters- that's great! It's lovely to keep hold of old letters- you're right, they're full of memories :)

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39 users have voted.
Niluh's picture
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Niluh 5 May, 2014 - 16:45

When i was younger i used to write letters to my friends and my parents, but since technology appeared with text message and many kinds of social media, people (including me) started to abandon letter and used the modern way of communication, it is easier, cheaper, faster and more practical than we have to take a time to write letter and wait till the letter is sending.

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39 users have voted.
HannahW's picture
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HannahW 6 May, 2014 - 20:19

Thanks for your comment Niluh- I agree that there are many quick and easy ways of communicating these days. When we write letters, we are forced to wait a while for a reply- sometimes this makes us impatient because we are so used to being able to hear back from our friends immediately! We're lucky to have very quick communication methods as well as the option of sending a letter.

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33 users have voted.