Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Q: How abt dat? A: No ways!

"hi sharanya! how u? hows evrythng..v shd meet smetime!" read a post on my Facebook wall. I winced when I read this post, cursing my luck for knowing a person that wrote so "badly" and then cursing Facebook for broadcasting this enquiry on all my 200 friends' homepages. How they would poke fun at this post, and how they would think low of me, for having a friend that couldn't even frame a sentence without a spell check error. I do agree that Facebook is an informal platform and nobody expects you to follow all rules of spelling and grammar. But, I thoroughly detest this distortion of the English language. It is painful enough to read people's SMSes rife with grotesque short forms of already short words and now the laziness has infected qwerty users! It's hard to term it laziness even. How can one possibly feel lazy to type a "we" as against a "v"? It's not laziness. It's sheer disregard for the language and its norms.

I have a psychological block against users of this notorious tongue. I get the feeling that these are people who are not confident in their language and use this as a mechanism to conceal their linguistic limitations. Honestly, I find it much harder to read a message that doesn't spell the words the way they are supposed to be! I find it confusing to miss letters in the words that I read. Ironically, the universal essence of communication (in any form) is to ensure that the recipient understands the message. Sigh. I hope I've convinced you to abstain from employing spelling cryptography. Each time you're tempted to use it in the future, think of this post. Think of people like me who would cringe at the usage and deem it to be a sign of lack of sophistication, or worse still, lack of knowledge! If you must know, there are tons of us puritans out there. Now, who wouldn't like to put in a trifle of extra effort, if it means creating a good impression, right?

Finally, a sincere request. Next time you want to say "anyway", say anyway. Please don't say anyways. Its even one less letter to type!


Gowri said...

hehehe 'anyways' :) that's my pet peeve too! Anyway, I'd written a post on this once and one of my classmates from RV, whose English is pretty good and who's into etymology of the language, disagreed with me saying, it's only natural for language to change and evolve. I didn't then, but I tend to agree now. I just wonder how much longer before the sms lingo gets formally included into the English vocabulary. Accept it Charu, it's going to happen soon!

Charu said...

I do agree Gowri. It is indeed a sign of change. And technology is to blame for this change. No doubt. I'm simply trying to do my bit to discourage a change that, if not deprecated at this stage, might creep into our newspapers and novels.
If you look at the evolution of the English language over the centuries, you will see the inclusion of a multitude of words and expressions from world languages like French, German, Sanskrit and so on. Additionally, there have been structural differences in the way sentences are framed or spoken. But, seldom have we seen changes that disturb the foundation of the language itself. And this "sms lingo", I'm afraid, is one of those. Not a good sign.

BG said...

ಅದಿಕ್ಕೆ ನಾನು ಹೀಗೆ ಬರೆಯುವುದು. ತಲೆ ನೋವು ಇಲ್ಲ.

ScrewLoose said...

Excellent post Charlie... I remember having read quite some time back that one of either Oxford or Cambridge had decided to allow sms lingo to be used by students in examinations. This by the guys who are known to be the fanatically snobbish about the english language. I agree with a lot of the observations, but don't have anything against it. It is human nature to take the easy way out - all the time.

Peace out!

Charu said...

@BG: :) Smart! That's a clean way out.

@AA: Now that's one of my nightmares coming true! Of course, you're right about the reasoning behind the phenomenon. But, I need some muscle power in this "war". Gowri and you were strong candidates! Alas!