Saturday, October 16, 2010

do u write like this plz tell me ok?

It's that time again, when I dredge up another blog entry of days gone by, edit it slightly (or heavily) and present it for your uninterested perusal. Today's haul is particularly uninteresting, being a pedantic diatribe about how the world is figuratively going all to hell, in the literal sense. But it is a logical precursor to a topic I want to discuss later.

September 27, 2007

I've been seeing it everywhere: the claim that our society is abandoning written communication in favor of pretty pictures and slick electronic interfaces. The introduction to chapter 7 of Seeing & Writing states, "Already book sales are decreasing, and students are demonstrating only marginal progress in reading and writing proficiency. Meanwhile we channel surf, rapidly scanning dozens of images in seconds, or we click from icon to icon."

Maybe this is just progress (as Scott McCloud implies in "Chapter 6," which is excerpted in Appendix A), our communication system coming full circle and dropping us off at a time "when to tell was to show--and to show was to tell", but still, it scares me.

I like words. I like communicating in complete sentences and spelling things correctly. I am one of that special breed of people who make a point of using our language in the way it was intended. My text messages could just as well be text books (albeit short ones), the syntax and spelling is so precise (although I have abandoned capitalization when texting). It disturbs me to think that we are approaching an age when we (meaning everyone except the die-hard dinosaurs like me) will all communicate like this:
i was at l.a (language arts) and i saw a peice of paper with this on it. well it also had a heart. "having a broken heart is nothing....compared to a cold heart." what do u think of it? is it good? what do u think its about? plz answer. i think its kinda about: if u broke an animals heart, because he believes in u, and u just let him down, at least u havnt abused him.: thats what i think. pllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzz tell me what u think. if enough ppl answer, i may leak u a secret only on this post.
I picked this out of a blog on Quizilla, a site that's rampant with Internet grammar. Is our language going to be reduced to this? Not that the ideas expressed are particularly coherent to begin with, but in that terribly misspelled form, they lose any semblance of credibility. When your boss sends you an email asking "u" to do something, how seriously can you take it? Isn't presentation just as important as content? Don't we trivialize our thoughts when we present them in a form that trivializes our language?

It makes me wonder what the Olde English writers would have to say about the ways we speak and write now (even the grammatically correct ways). It makes me wonder what we can expect of English in the centuries to come.