"E" is for "English"
The English language, to be precise.
I guess it’s a sign that I’m getting on in years, but I miss the old grammar rules.
I always thought it was easy to determine the intelligence and education, not to mention the acumen and taste, of various people simply by reading what they wrote and how they wrote it.
If they showed they didn’t know basic English grammar -- when to use “it’s” and when to use “its,” for example – I thought I had them pretty well figured out as people, even though I had never met them.
But all this has changed. Seated at my computer and logged on to the web, I can see, along with everyone else, that an entirely new language is being created.
Thanks to younger folks, and not us old codgers, it’s a strange dialect, presumably based on English, which has taken over, and it pays no obeisance to, or even recognizes, rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling. In addition, it relies heavily on acronyms.
BRB, OMG, TTYL, LOL, BTW, CU, as examples.
And yet, the folks who write using this stripped-down texting patois seem to be able to communicate more or less effectively with their chat friends.
But surely punctuation, to take just one example, is important. You know the famous panda story, the one about the murderous gun-toting panda? Seems a wildlife book had described this creature as a “large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.” Just a misplaced comma, but it turned the peaceful panda into a wild gunslinger.
As I’m sure you’re aware, Lynne Truss wrote a book about him, a book subtitled “the zero-tolerance approach to punctuation,” and it was a huge best-seller. I thought it might make punctuation popular. But maybe not.
During my pedagogical years I was at times dismayed to find that such usages as “IIRC” and “IMO” were occasionally used by students writing their papers. So are acronyms and emoticons, accompanied by a total lack of rules of English grammar, simply a short-term, ephemeral phenomenon, specific to internet communication, or does all this represent the real future of our written English language?
(By the way, scientific research has established that “ACRONYM” stands for “A Crazy Reminder of Names You Misplaced.”)
Question is, is this where our language is headed? Will this rough-hewn internet argot become Standard English one of these days? What’s your opinion?
1 year ago