In the future, English has changed, as languages always change over time. It was a challenge to come up with a version of written English that would read as “futuristic.” I eventually settled on one that uses text-speak for a lot of common words, alt key characters as a sort of short-hand, Chinese characters for semi-common words that are quicker to write as characters, and Japanese “no” for apostrophe s’s (which is, itself, a shorthand for the Chinese character with the same function). I don’t necessarily posit this as a likely distance for written English to travel over the next 500 years, but it at least leaves you with an impression of what direction it’s moved in (and what it feels like to be in Maida’s shoes).

↓ Transcript
Panel 1: Thurga, a South Asian girl in a pink dupatta, hits her friend Nat, who has a blue kerchief and blonde braids, on the shoulder. Thurga: "Brilliant!" Nat: "Snerk." Mrs. Wu: "Now then, girls. Let's continue. Memory inducers on!" Some of the girls put a metal device around their heads.
Panel 2: The whole class, reading in unison: "Once Rome became a empire it was free to expand in all directions, wiffout the liability of senatorial politics to hold it back."
Panel 3: Maida looks at her textbook screen, but the text is barely legible. The whole class: "The rise of the emperors left one important question unanswered, 'owever."
Panel 4: The whole class: "That was the matter of succession when a emperor died..." Maida puts her head in her hand. Maida's voice-over: "Ugh. How am I supposed to learn anything if I can't even read it?"