Language lessons from a language lover
This is a column that I have been waiting to write. It pertains to one my pet peeves. Do forgive me, as it has long festered in my fingers as I continue to lament the sad, sad deterioration of our language.
Texting, facebooking and leet speak warp words, add letters and elongate one syllable words to long, drawn-out ridiculous exclamations, like the meaning of these re-sculpted words is directly related to the amount of key strokes it takes to type them.
It doesn’t matter the sentiment. Happy, sad or surprised, more letters mean a more exuberant reaction.
- Omggggggggggg, thaat’s sooo coool.
- Noooo, I missss you!
- Yesss, lets’ do it.
- Loook at my hur (referring to hair)
Now I am in favor of self-expression, but when did it become a symbol of “cool” to misspell words, add letters and such?
English, or in particular the American version, is a hodge-podge of influences from many nations. Our rich history has added words, transformed spellings and refined figures of speech including the recent patriotic phrasing of “Murica.”
I suppose the American poet E.E. Cummings would agree with all of you. He used unique typography to create interesting work. His quest for self-expression led him to disregard common rules of punctuation and syntax.
The internet or texting allows for more flexible rules of communication. But this exposure to constant relativity of language infiltrates into everyday uses. I fear soon therewillbenoneedforspaces, “you” will be shrunk to “u” and capitalizing “i” will be a long lost legend.
Perhaps I am alone in being irked by this slow progression to shorting, twisting and omitting words. But it doesn’t take long to find proper words to communicate effectively. Language is rich and interactive. We are cheating it by dumbing it down, lazily using extra letters to emphasize our points. Please observe some alternatives to the above expressions:
- Wow, that is really interesting.
- No, my friend, I miss your company.
- Yes, that particular activity sounds really fun.
- This is my new hairstyle.
Self-expression is relevant and language is fluid, but let’s retain some of our refinement even in fast-paced, period-less, digital lives.
BY APRIL KNUTSON