Mispronouncing words, a generous friend of mine recently reminded me, isn’t necessarily a sign of dilettantism. It just means you often learn new words through reading rather than hearing.
And Americans are reading like crazy these days (hey, you’re doing it right now). Despite what you’ve heard about the blossoming age of mobile video and emoji-based discourse, people under the age of 30 are reading more books than their counterparts in decades past, and readers of all ages are increasingly reaching for a variety of platforms—cellphones, tablets, and laptops, along with good ole-fashioned paper. In an era of internet-connected smartphones, it’s possible to read more than ever—and not just books or news reports (which were always portable) but also dispatches from friends and family that now come via Facebook or text message instead of by speaking of over the phone, as they might have in the pre-internet age.
The ubiquity of the web has created a golden age of text much the way it’s enabled a golden age of TV and journalism (golden for the consumer, anyway): More options at a user’s fingertips, many of them freely accessible, means tougher competition—which drives up quality. (Well, the quality stuff’s out there, anyway. It doesn’t mean that’s what everybody’s always reading.)