Do you remember the days when mobile phones were just becoming popular and still weighed more than the average toddler? This was the time when grammar was still alive and kicking, and proper spelling was commonplace.
If we slip into my handy time machine for a few minutes and go back a couple of decades, we will see that few people other than the Slade used words that had been horribly abbreviated and mutilated. Nowadays, song titles like Coz I Luv U and You Boyz Make Big Noize look like they were written by someone making a genuine effort to follow the rules of English. Compare them to any modern text message written by a youngster and Noddy Holder comes across as a literary genius.
C U L8R M8 LOL . Who wrote that; a human being or blooming R2-D2? These can’t even be called new words, can they? It is just a lazy way of writing something without typing out the whole word.
The Generation Gap
There are a good number of reasons why younger members of my family think I am a silly old fool. My insistence on listening to Bob Dylan and watching DVDs of Blackadder are just two of them. There is also the fact that I stubbornly continue to send my text messages in – gasp! – real English. Sure, sometimes I am tempted to write XOXO or R U 4 REAL or something equally hip.
However, I just picture my old English teacher and immediately type in the proper words. I guess that it is a habit which some of us will never fall out of. I wonder what the future holds when we go the way of the dinosaurs and the whole world is populated by people who can only write in text shorthand. Will no one understand Shakespeare? Actually, I can barely understand Shakespeare as it is, so the future is looking bleak for the bard.
Not Just a Problem in English
One of the interesting aspects of the death of grammar and proper spelling is that it isn’t just limited to the English language. A quick piece of online investigation showed me that Spanish and Italian speakers are also worried about this modern phenomenon.
In fact, some of my relatives send me abbreviated Spanish text messages and it is even more confusing than the shorthand used in English. X 100PRE. QDMS. D2. What can it all mean other than the last agonising death throes of grammar as we know it?
Do you still use proper English in your text messages? If so, are we the last of a dying breed or can something be done to stop the death of grammar?