The new millennium ushered in a few scares for those that still remember the last month of 1999. Considering I was still in middle school at the time and would start up high school the next year I got the references of partying on the last day of the 20th century like the world was going to end. For a lot of individuals out there they firmly believed the world would end at the stroke of midnight. The Y2K bug that would supposedly crash every computer system in the world and send us back into the stone-age, thankfully, was just another Mayan prophecy proved false like the many others that came after the millennium hit.
In some ways, however, it did usher in a new kind of world. With technology growing exponentially and allowing for people to put their names out there in ways the average person ten years ago never thought they could we have grown complacent in one area that is, quite frankly, unacceptable. That area is the written language.
I understand that language itself evolves. As a species we have come from grunting and hollering to communicating in several different types of sophisticated language across the world. Whether it is English, French, Arabic and even back to the old school Latin our language can define who we are. We still find entertainment in knowing someone personally that can speak different languages. We stand in awe when we hear a foreign dialect not of our own for the first time. Even accents are alien and exotic to us even if we live in the same country.
Of course accents, like sarcasm, are typically lost when in written form. Though as I mentioned above technology allows us to connect in ways never thought possible, and that is what has become the greatest stain on our language: text speak.
I’m not talking about text speak as in 1’s and 0’s, of course not (disclaimer: any of you that can read binary I have to give you props), but I am talking about the language that has become prevalent in an era of cell phone and defined character space (looking at you Twitter). I’m what you would call a grammar Nazi. I cannot fault someone for misspelling any given word but when you start substituting actual words for acronyms or a very short handed version of words that are already short to begin with it just looks sloppy and regressive.
Single letters should not replace any word when someone is writing anything anyone else is going to see. Simple as that. A combination of two letters to make a shortened form of another word that is only four letters long applies as well. Think! How in the world do you think it looks to anyone when your entire facebook page or twitter account looks like a jumbled mess of letters that maybe, maybe Attila the Hun would recognize?
Language is a gift. It is a privilege in my eyes. It can be an art, it can be a weapon, and it can uplift and motivate people around the world. My biggest fear is that our language will regress if this trend of twitterspeak and textspeak continues. Communication should never be shorthanded unless it is obviously necessary in emergency situations or for obvious acronyms. I am sure a lot of people won’t necessarily understand where I am coming from but honestly how would you feel if we all started to talk like we text?