Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 B Or Not 2 B, Th@'s Th ?

I enjoy languages, and in school had an ear for them and did pretty well.  I had one year of Latin and one of French in high school, followed by Latin at Meredith.  When I returned to Chowan to finish my BA in Religion I had a year of Spanish and then they added Greek and Hebrew to the curriculum.  I had a year of each.  Five languages on top of my native English.  Proficient in none, but I can still work my way through Greek.

English gave me fits in school and it wasn't until I took Latin in the 9th grade that the parts of speech began to make sense.  Up until then I could read and write very well, but I couldn't diagram a sentence for the life of me.  The definition of a verb confused me greatly and I was constantly mixing up verbs with nouns when I had to identify them as parts of speech.  It never bothered me if something dangled when it wasn't supposed to.  I didn't care if something was modified or not and I didn't care which word was the modifyer and which was the modifyee.  Just let me read and write and I was fine.  Leave the technical stuff for those who enjoyed inflicting pain and distress on young, helpless students by making them do weird things to sentences.  "Diagramming" looked nothing like anything I learned in art class!

For all my woes and trials with sentence structure, I could spell the words that made up those sentences!  And despite all those awful diagrams, I could write a decent sentence, and paragraph.  I could put paragraphs and thoughts together and write a readable paper or story.  Whatever I was assigned to write, I could write it and get "A's". 

Today, English is becoming a foreign language for me.  Text-speak is changing all the rules!  It's changing the "alphabet" and sentence structure.  It's becoming the Evil Twin of Algebra!  As long as "math" was "math" in school and nothing but numbers, I could do it and I naively thought that's all there was.  What a RUDE awakening ALGEBRA was!  All of a sudden the alphabet was thrown in with the numbers and my so-called "math ability" tanked.  Big time!  Now, we're adding numbers to our alphabet!  It's a world gone mad, I tell u!

B4 long, th way we spel wil b ?able. "Lol" wil proly b in the dictionary.  2day we hav a gr8 language.  Wht re 2morrow?   C, we r bcoming 2 illiter8 & @ ths r8 b4 2 long u will c bg probs n communic8ions.  Ur yung flks wont b able 2 spel & write a crct sentnc.  Wil we b lol then?

Pepl r communic8ing n texts & tweets.  FB givs 420 characters 4 ur status.  Twitter givs 140 4 a tweet.  What's nxt?

Here's a thot: Let's save our native tongue b4 it's 2 L8.  Sure languages evolve; we don't speak King James English anymore.  We don't even speak with the same sentence structure of the NIV anymore.  Don't blieve me?  Check it out.  English will continue to evolve.  Do we have to kill it?  Do we have 2 commit languicide?

The world is changing, but it's supposed to.  Nothing human stays the same forever.  The English language will continue to evolve; it's supposed to, too.  Thank goodness!  I'd h8 to have 2 write in Shakespeare-ese.  But is the country ready for Text-speak?  Frankly, ready or not, it's here.  How are we going to handle it?  It's going to be a problem for our children who are coming along and will have to learn how to spell, write, and put together proper sentences and paragraphs.  No matter where technology takes us, they'll have to learn how to read and write.  Proper written communication is still important and they have to be prepared.

Whoever thought English would one day become the national second language behind Text-speak?  I can c it happening.  Can u?

So here's to English!  Pure English, without numbers or deliberate misspellings.  And here's to language and communication!  Let's use and not abuse them.  We're living in a world of technology that's ever evolving and with it comes opportunities and challenges.  Let us not get stupid, sound stupid, or write stupid.  Technology should enhance, not dumb down.  Likewise, we should become more intelligent with our use of our English language, not become illiterate.

I believe in our ability to stem the tide.

And I am gr8ful.

(When I wrote this FB did keep a strict count of characters in a status. That has, mercifully, changed).