Wednesday, August 24, 2005

the deth of 'death' in the english langwege

"i kno u r gona b there..."

I joke about it when I see it, but the reality of the impact of the language of instant messaging (IMing) is becoming increasingly evident. I see it at work. I see it in blogs. Not only the extremely abbreviated spelling of words (never, ever use a double consonant like 'bb' or 'nn' in the middle of a word) but also the increased use of a developing shorthand full of acronyms. There is no punctuation unless, of course, to illustrate some point or draw a picture. Words are kept to a minimum (you try typing on your phone!) and short words are preferable to longer ones.

Before you cry "foul" thinking about the possible direction the English language is heading, remember from where we've come. Most words that we use today that have been around from early English have been transformed to some degree...a letter here...drop an ending there. Ever read Beowulf? How about 'King James' English? The language evolves to be more practical and usable, right?

While I find myself fighting the trend toward watered-down English, I can also admit that some change is good. Maybe we can quit using all those silent letters like 'gnat' and why do we need both a 'c' and a 'k' in 'kicking'? For pronunciation, you say? English hardly follows the rules. Why do 2 z's make 'pizza'? Why not write it like it sounds, 'peetza' or something?

Though lacking the vision to see what is next in the technology of communication, I suspect there are going to be other radical innovations in the next few years that will further alter how we communicate. I'm not ready to throw my Harbrace Handbook away nor to write off the Chicago Manual of Style just yet, but we do have to realize that language is never static.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This is why I get frustrated with sending text messages (that and the ten cent charge). I just can't shorten the words or abandon punctuation. It hurts. I do wonder if kids these days struggle more with spelling and grammar in school due to the popularity of instant messaging.