Technology And Social Media: Making Language Ugly

uglyLanguage is something that changes and adapts over time and with each generation. You sit at family meals and listen to your grandparents talk and they use language and structures which differ from ours. Although language is quick to evolve from generation to generation, it has become overly lazy and ugly in recent years. It’s not just the words we use, it’s now how people spell them and use them daily. I’ve written before about some of my pet hates when it comes to language but this article looks at some of the more ugly examples of language evolution and what may be the causes behind it as well as considering if it’s here to stay.

Examples

1 – Wot – What

It may well be easier to type three letters but it is ugly and repulsive.

2 – Woz – Was

This one is particularly annoying as it actually requires more effort to spell it wrong than it does correctly. W, A and S are all a connected on the keyboard, it takes a fraction of a second to put them in order. To spell it W.O.Z requires more time and energy. It is also hideous to look at.

3 – Innit – Isn’t It

Two words made into one. It is easier to type out one shorter word than it is two including grammar. It doesn’t make it right. This term is often used as a statement in reply to something questionable. Example, “I can’t believe the price of these drinks!”. “Innit”. No it is not, it doesn’t even make sense.

4 – Ain’t – Have/Did Not

This is one you hear often, particularly with certain people and in certain places. In fact, it’s so popular now that it doesn’t always seem out of place. Example, “I ain’t done nothing!”. I wont go into the use of “nothing” in that often overheard sentence…

5 – Coz – Because

Again, it is easier to type three letters than seven and this doesn’t need translating, it speaks for itself so is ever so slightly more acceptable but still ugly. To be used when saving space in messages only, not every day use.

Lazy Grammar

Not understanding grammar and struggling with it is one thing and that is acceptable. Even making the odd mistake without realising, we all do it. But being lazy with it or not bothering to learn it is not ok. People these days seem to use whichever spelling of a word they like, not caring that it’s the wrong one. Here are some popular examples:

1 – You’re and Your

You’re – You are. Example: You’re wonderful.

Your – Possession, something which belongs to you. Example: Is this your cat?

Two words meaning two different things and when used incorrectly, changes the structure of a sentence and not always for the best!

2 – They’re, Their and There

They’re – They Are. Example: They’re already here.

Their – Possession, belonging to someone else. Example: That’s their’s, give it back.

There – Place or location. Example: No, it’s over there.

How Did It Happen?

The rise of mobile phones and texting probably plays a huge part. Texts would only allow you X number of characters which meant people, particularly younger people, would find ways of saving space to fit everything into a single message. As social networks became ever popular shortly after, people would then translate that way of typing and writing into those too. Often seen in Twitter because of the 140 character limit. However, there are people and children who use this way of writing outside of social interactions. Do they know it’s wrong and not care or do they simply think that is how it is? Schools need to be tough on spelling and teach people that it’s ok to spell like that in your free time among friends and family, but not in a school or the work place. Bad habits are hard to stop and if you use this language regularly, you may end up using it when you do not mean to elsewhere.

Conclusion

Is this evolution or laziness, or both? It’s hard to say. Not everyone uses this newfangled way of spelling and talking, it is usually the younger generations but that may imply they will teach their children these habits too and thus it becomes the norm. Time will tell. I hope the old, correct way sticks around though. Language is a beautiful thing and it should remain that way rather than become another aspect of life you can make easier and manipulate as you please.

~ Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-g-uk ~

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14 thoughts on “Technology And Social Media: Making Language Ugly

  1. A thoughtful and interesting piece – It is ironic that IT programming languages which demand rigorous adherence to rules and ‘grammar’ to even work should have indirectly spawned such a relaxed attitude to the use of the written word. You would have thought educationalists might have made the connection between the two.

    • That is a very good point, I’m sure they didn’t brainstorm a decline in language when making this new technology and ways of communicating. It’s up to parents and teachers to educate the young about use of language and what is and is not acceptable and when. Thank you for your comment, very much appreciated 🙂

  2. Your doing such a good job on you’re blog!;-) I just wish there skills will get better in thyme!

    *I apologize for any spelling errors, as I am just kidding around. Good post Nikki! Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Cody, very pleased you liked it. Just went to yours too and it looks great, it’s a really great idea! They look brilliant. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  3. Dear Nikki,
    thanks for your blog – great!
    I did write a similar article on my blog – but in German unfortunately (although my blog is bilingual since last year).
    Have a good weekend
    Klausbernd and his chirpy Bookfayries Siri and Selma from the North Norfolk coast

  4. Good observations. keep in mind that print text literacy and digital text literacy are now spreading further apart. They are actually separate media. As you point out digital text is governed by the codes & conventions ( and restraints) of that mass media technology.
    We tend to assume that the “rules” of spelling & grammar are sacred. We forget the history of language and how it relates to mass media technology. A large element of spelling & grammar rules in English were solidified in the late 1500s & early 1600s by the printers, like William Caxton. The main concern was cost of printing and setting type. I have a resource I used with my students, if you are interested. 🙂

    See: Time Traveler’s Resource Guide to Elizabethan-Shakespearean Language
    http://artmedia.homestead.com/TimeTRG.html

    Also thanks for visiting my blog. Much appreciated.

    • Hello, thank you so much for commenting and sharing that link, I’ve read through it and found it really interesting. Language, like all things, evolves with time and generations. Whether it be for better or worse. Though the more you see these text in use, the more the younger generations will assume it’s normal and thus it becomes the norm as they use it in place of old customs.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I really enjoyed your blog too 🙂

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