In the age of cellphone text messages, online instant messaging and e-mail we are using written communication more than ever before. It seems ironic then that our language is suffering as much as it is.
Believe it or not but “txt speak” is actually going to be allowed in some schools. Why have we spent centuries developing our language to be so expressive and concise only for it to be mangled virtually beyond recognition?
Worse still, this problem isn’t limited to teenagers and others from the online generation.
We seem to be relaxing on our written language standards even in the workplace. Every day I write far more words in e-mails than I speak in phone calls. Far too much time is spent reading and re-reading e-mails trying to decipher what people are talking about. It seems that many people don’t even read over their messages even once after they’ve written them to detect the most basic of grammatical errors. Spell checkers are obviously useless in this instance even though sadly they have somehow become the one and only check for not only e-mail but much documentation.
I’ve recently even seen job advertisements with horrible “txt speak” adaptations! What kind of people do recruitment agencies hope to attract? If I see a job ad with that kind of rubbish in the title I skip immediately over to the next one.
10 Items or Less? 10 Items or FEWER!
This is obviously more of a vent than anything else. I don’t expect anyone to become a language Nazi like me in the near future just from reading this article. Perhaps people just need to pick up a classic novel now and then to re-learn the basics. Is the problem in schools? I’m not sure. It’s not all that long ago that I was in school myself and there was certainly a decent amount of emphasis on effective usage of the English language.
I think it’s probably just our culture. Maybe it’s just another by-product of our constantly expanding hunger for super convenience. Come to think of it, maybe we will be much more efficient once we devolve back to grunts and basic body language. The integration of basic universal sign language in every day life, particularly on the roads, seems to also be on the rise anyway so why not add in a few grunts and screams for good measure?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the continuing evolution of the language. I can certainly also appreciate subtle online additions such as the humble emoticon. Used appropriately these can effectively enhance or emphasise in just the right way ;-)
It’s more important now than ever before to have decent written communication skills. With so much writing going on we can’t afford for effective communication to suffer any further. We’ve already let our standards slide far too much.
3 responses to To Be, or nt 2 B?
At last, a young person who understands that clear and improving communication is an integral part of a progressively evolving civilisation and contributes in uncountable ways to many aspects of daily life. The ability to communicate properly allows us to trade with each other, run businesses efficiently, talk to each other instead of starting wars (well some of us, anyway), mediate in disputes, discuss, sell the benefits of a product, argue a point and so on. Imagine running a court case or recording a contract in txt spk!
It’s amazing to think that the various languages that our forebears spent centuries refining are suddenly being stripped of nuance and subtlety in just one generation. It’s rather similar to what we’re doing to our planet’s resources, actually.
I understand that one shouldn’t complain about a language progressing, but I wonder how a future Shakespeare will write a play? A play? What’s that? (they’ll say). Oh well, never mind.
Well, I believe that each one of us actually has a responsibility to future generations to preserve the one core achievement of our species – the ability to to communicate up to the level of finely nuanced abstract concepts. Otherwise, as Wayne implies, poke, sniff, grunt, snarl, bite, will be the order of the day!
If there are any grammatical or spelling errors in this comment, it’s my English teacher’s fault!
Yes what he said!
Even then I had to correct my grammar, I was going to put Yeah… but is that ok now?
Did you know that Shakespeare made up 1 in every 10 words in all his plays? Interesting fact really considering the amount of words made up this day and age and the hype made out of them all. Every day words would not be around if this ingenious man hadn’t fiddled with words.
I don’t believe we should write in txt language but you’ve got to evolve.
Wayne you’re a genius.