Thursday, 26 February 2009

Speaking English

I love the English language. In fact, I love listening to any language as I’m fascinating by the different sounds and gestures that people use when speaking. What I’m sad about though is the way our language appears to be evolving.

Now I know language doesn’t remain static. Every language evolves whether we like it or not - if that weren’t the case we’d still all be speaking in the same way Shakespeare did, or even Anglo-Saxon, but I really don’t like what’s happening to it these days.

This is copied from something a 15 year old friend of the family wrote recently:

“I had da best tym todaii it woz wiked. Just gt in nd am 2 tyred 2 fink. C ya 2mrw.”

I’m really not sure whether that’s txt spk or just a case of bad spelling, grammar and everything else rolled together.

This isn’t an isolated incident either. Go on any social networking site and take a look at how young people write these days. Not all of them - some youngsters write beautifully - but far too many.

Is it because they’re not being taught proper language skills in school? Is it because of txt spk influences? Is it just sheer laziness (can’t be bothered to learn)?

I really hope this isn’t a sign of how people will be speaking/writing in the future because that, to me, just isn’t beautiful.

Sharon J xx


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Chris said...

Gr8 post S!

Tis so gd to 'ave u bk!

No idea what I have written - was trying to make it short and to the point but that is not always my style!

Interesting post as ever!

Tnk U!


Canadian Saver said...

I don't enjoy reading that either.. it could be that as I get older I don't follow the new trends and I am often left wondering what half the codes mean!!

I'm bothered too that less and less kids seem to be into reading :-(

Sharon J said...

Chris. Y'know, I don't mind that kind of thing in text messages but this was actually written down as a note.

Canadian Saver. No doubt age does have something to do with it but even other young people I've shown it to have been shocked. I know the girl who wrote it and this isn't an exception and she isn't dyslexic either. And as far as I know, she's never read a book.

On the other hand, an 18 year old girl who I used to be child minder for as a little girl bought a dozen classics yesterday and is hoping to study English and English Lit at Uni so all isn't lost. She isn't from England though.

Richard said...

Doesn't it take more effort to write crap English than good? Btw, go back and check your first line :)

Sharon J said...

Lol. That's what you get when you write too quickly! Fortunately, I do know the difference between 'fascinated' and 'fascinating' but I'd like to think I'm as fascinating as I am fascinated ;-)

Sharon J said...

Oh, and no, I don't think it does. At least, not for the people who naturally write like that. The person in question appears to find it very easy anyway.

Samm said...

I personally think that texting does have a massive influence on the way people write. I used to frequently type like that, and sometimes do (just not to the same degree). I will use dnt instead of don't. However it also depends on who i am typing something for. I would never use this type of text speak when writing a formal letter and to be honest i do know a few youn people that would use that type writing style when talking to friends, but very rarely would most young people use that in any other way. There are a few but from the people I know they don't. I think it is just a quickness thing, and to be honest when i am writing notes it can be very helpful to write things in that way. I don't think it is great but i also don't believe the english language will evolve into this.

Sharon J said...

Samm. Like I said, I don't really have a problem with it in texts - it's sensible to try to get as much as possible in one text rather than pay for several but believe me, this particular person is part of my family and writes like this ALL the time and if what I see on Facebook is anything to go by, so do the majority of her friends.

I also shorten things etc when I'm just jotting down things in a note - that's why secretaries use shorthand, after all, but I wouldn't use it to write a note to somebody and certainly not in a letter.

I do hope you're right though - that the majority still know how to use our language properly.

JohnG said...

I would say a word or two in praise of the English language -which is a world class tool because you can do so much with it and still be more or less understood. That is its strength and why so many aspire to learn and use it. If we compare this with the French (bless em) who have an academy to try to ban words like le weekend. Preserving a particular form of a language seems to be to be fraught with difficulties. Revolting as text shorthand can be it is a sign that the English language is in rude health!

Anonymous said...

This is my first time reading your page, and I have to say, I do not think age really has anything to do with how the English language has been evolving. I do believe that it has everything to do with the way we as parents teach our children, esp. in today's technologically advanced world, where texting is the norm. I am a 33 year old mother of 11 year old twin girls, and to listen to how some of their friends talk, and write is just plain frightening. All in all it comes down to parenting.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on your blog tonight - thoroughly enjoying your posts - you do have a way of bringing the reader right into your world (not an easy task). I just wanted to respond to your comments about "text talk" as some of us across the pond call it. My son started saying things like, "BRB" (be right back), "TTFN" (ta-ta for now), and the like. I put a stop to that as soon as possible.

I am an elementary school teacher and speak from experience when I say that (at least in American schools) I don't believe grammar instruction is up to snuff (at least in my school). As far as the teachers in my school are concerned, grammar needs to be taught in an integrated format with other subject areas (i.e. writing in science, math, responses to reading). There simply is not enough time in the day to teach it by itself. It is very frustrating because we do see the necessity of it.

Just my two cents on the topic and an opportunity to let you know that I am truly enjoying reading your blog. Thank you and keep it up!

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