Friday, April 01, 2016

Is texting ruining the English language?

" Omg ....isn't it awsum?" ......"Howz lyf" .......... "lol...datz kewl!" 

Ever so often, I have had my associates turn in an assignment, in which the new generation texting language makes an appearance. Although I always remember to mention that these assignments are formal documents and so they should have a very formal tone. 

I have been training people in communication skills for years now and it irks me no end when I have an associate deliver his assignment where the “you “ becomes “u” and the “that” goes ”dat”.

But who can blame them? When they spend endless hours chatting on whatsapp or wechat using this style of writing, isn’t it obvious that this language would quietly find its way into formal documentation. 

I do understand that today’s world of communication is technology driven. It’s a fact that, texting has become the most popular mode of communication today. At work, at meetings, at home, and with friends, texting is making its presence felt almost everywhere.

I am a witness to this ongoing transition. As part of the ILP curriculum, the new entrants to TCS, have to develop a mini project in whichever software language they are getting trained in. These days, I have seen Java project UIs saying “u have been registrd succssfully......!!!!” or a CPP project UI go “do u wnt to proceed furthr?” Whatever happened to the good old vowel sounds? Texting has almost made the vowels obsolete. The sounds that have enabled us throughout the ages to express our emotions and feelings, suddenly find themselves left out. Aren’t we taking a lot of liberty with a language that is known for its refinement. It is almost as if, we have become too lazy to even type our words correctly. And what about the punctuations? “It is just fine to put a few extra exclamations and interrogative marks, they help to create an emphasis”...they say. 

Or is it all a new way to make sense between writing and speaking? Much like the way Phonetics does. Is it a search to write the way we speak? One thing that we all have to agree is that ”English is a funny language”. We never write the way we speak it. At least, the new texting language is doing its bit to make some sense of the written sounds.

On the other hand, it also reminds us that English language is alive and thriving. Probably, this is the way language evolution happens. Every language has been making comprises to suit human needs and requirements, and language changing, in itself, shows the evolution of a society. I am sure that the language we think of as correct English, must have gone through years of similar transformation to be what it is today.

The purpose of any language is to effectively communicate ideas from one to another. And texting enthusiasts argue that our ability to do that is greatly hindered with so much pointless complexity and inconsistency in our language. Hence, simplification is exactly what our language needs and that is what the modified text English is offering us. If we just let go of institutionalized language and let it naturally evolve like it's meant to, we may just have the perfect language in the near future. Probably it would be good to let language evolution take its natural course and grow into something much more effective.

Personally I find it a bit concerning that people are no longer thinking about speaking correctly and that their ability to write correctly is restricted by the limitations of buttons of their phone keypads, or perhaps more significantly, laziness.

So, wat do u say abt dat? Do u think txting is ruinin' d English language... or r v jst bein' overly senstiv 2wrds dis topic?? 

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