"I tried to get ur email addy......i want to ask u if u could send me..... ...i will b offline"I wondered whether something was wrong with me. This was from an adult who was asking me to forward some information. Although I have never written an email in said format I was quick on the draw having deciphered the lingo in a nanosecond, well maybe a second after my brief pause. No I didn't reply in kind I jut figured out what she meant. Of course it wasn't difficult just a bit unusual considering the source.
My knowledge of text speak isn't really that bad. I'm quite familiar with <3, and WTF. Last week with my son's help I improved adding SMH, SMDH and MEH to my vocabulary. To be fair some of them are acronyms to which we have grown accustomed and some are plain intuitive. For example, I'm sure you can figure out:
While I'm appreciative of the convenience, speed and money saving quality of these newfangled abbreviations and while I tend to be perspicacious particularly when it comes to the spoken word I was simply flummoxed by some of these chat words. I mean WTH (note absence of expletive) do these mean:
- GIRL (it spells girl doesn't it?)
You see, young people (under 30, 25 or 20?) are so comfortable with these informal expressions that they are now incorporating them at school. Yes, teachers report seeing them in essays and other written assignments and despite their objections, the trend is growing. Like me, teachers may have to resort to code crackers like online dictionaries and translators. Indeed in England and Scotland they have gone as far as to allow text language in exams much to the horror of some parents and the teachers too.
Yet the youngsters are quick remind of the dynamic nature of language, of the fact that in-house, spork, skort, pop-up and wannabe are of relatively recent vintage and this just expands not eclipses English as we know it. My teenage son doesn't believe that the English language is in jeopardy at all arguing that the text language comprises abbreviations and acronyms for which there will always be a place and it's a mechanism that levels the playing field helping all kids to communicate with their peers. There is some truth to that. How many of us hear the word scuba diving and recall the meaning of SCUBA? Further texting is not limited to English, there are SMS versions in German, Spanish and more, even Hebrew.
Yet I'm still not sure as I can't shake the feeling that this culture of shorthand writing seems to have taken over. Doesn't it just encourage laziness? No says my son. Think of the computer, the automobile and the dishwasher. You are capable of writing, walking and washing but you use the alternative when its appropriate. Kids can still write, spell and think but texting is just quicker and easier.
Well I have no statistics and it is somewhat off-putting that I'm already deemed old school but I haven't gotten into the habit of texting, I still enjoy a beautiful turn of phrase and a card or letter via snail mail, well that is just a pleasure.