How Twitter Is Destroying the English Language

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by Jon Friedman
June 5, 2013 10:40 AM
3 Comments
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The other day -- fittingly on Facebook, the big toe of the social media -- an investigative journalist I know had a big complaint. 

As it turned out, she was annoyed about the common use of the letter "k" to denote someone's public approval of something. 

"Can't people take the time to write 'ok' any more?" she wanted to know?

Is it so hard to make the effort to use two letters instead of only one? she asked quite reasonably.

Now, as someone who has proudly written "k" since the late twentieth century, I took umbrage over her railing. I did something I swore I would never do any more -- join a community discussion thread and send along my comment. I argued (rather persuasively, if I must say so myself) that using the eleventh letter seemed perfectly appropriate.

In fact, I even pointed out that it made me feel cool to do it. I live in Manhattan and the whole exercise makes me feel hip, oh-so Silicon Valley. It's as if the Google engineers or the Apple designers had sprinkled a little of their gold dust on me.

Nobody, however, took up my point and my argument fell on deaf ears. 

I wasn't too surprised. Come on. Anybody who would introduce such a lame point of view (POV) had to be all ass backwards (AB). 

Death to Webster's

The English language is vanishing right before our eyes.

It's a pity, if not a tragedy.

(IMHO)

Twitter s the primary culprit though hardly the only guilty party here. Some might argue that the disintegration of proper word usage, good grammar and flowery prose is a logical evolution. Why say something in a lot of words when you can accomplish the same point by using only a handful?

Hey, isn't that really the American way, anyway?

(LOL)

Twitter encourages us to be terse,not necessarily brief, and blunt, though hardly descriptive. It encourages writers' worst instincts to show off our lazy, sloppy sides. 

Since everyone now uses and swears by Twitter, it has taken on a life force of its own. 

Twitter -- aided and abetted by smart phones and texting -- is unwittingly inventing a whole new way of communicating. We arenow engaged in micro-speak, in 140 characters. Yes, brevity is wonderful...

But it is scary because people take such liberties with the cherished language.

Will this movement spread to text books in schools -- yet another logical exploration? After all, if you really want to convince young kids -- who have always acted as if they had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), anyway -- you had better go the extra mile and appeal to them in their native shorthnd tongue.

Will we someday consider it normal to read something like: "4 Scre n 7 yrs ago, r forefthrs ..."

(That would be AFU, man) 

(AISI)


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3 Comments

  • Rbrt | August 13, 2013 10:30 AMReply

    I constantly receive messages (both electronic mail and text) from Individuals who feel it is cool to use text language to communicate. I have seen a rise in bad communication which involves mistakes being made that actually endanger lives and cause untold extra expense for essential services that could well do without the latter. If the current system wishes to breed a series of undereducated morons all with "A" grades, then so be-it. I agree that language needs to develop, but it needs to develop with intelligence, not the moronic direction it appears to be following.
    P.S.
    If you disagree with my comments I will LOVLAFUUTA
    Please translate into your moron speak!!!!!

  • N2QFD | June 7, 2013 7:06 AMReply

    Perhaps she also missed the radio and telegraph coded language. I'd guess that for a century now her dreaded 'k' has been in use in morse code for the same thing. Es = and de = this is and then there are the Q codes...

    73 OM DE N2QFD AR SK . .. .. ..

  • Casey Tesfaye | June 6, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    "It encourages writers' worst instincts to show off our lazy, sloppy sides."
    Who will read what you tweet if you are lazy and sloppy?

    It sounds to me like you are criticizing something you don't really know well. Twitter is a tool. People use it in ways that suit them. If people have something short to say, or are involved in a larger conversation, they will limit their words, often very creatively. If people have more extended points to make, they use Twitter to point to other websites or web content, including blogs like this.

    Language evolves over time to fit the needs of the people who use it. What evidence do you have that the language varieties that arise on platforms like Twitter will be the all powerful kick in the head to language? I suspect that, Twitter or not, people will continue to think and communicate just fine. I also expect that, Twitter or not, language will continue to evolve over time.

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