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“It’s the death of language!” he screamed, throwing himself dramatically to the floor.

17 March 2011

The other day, I was helping a friend move some furniture. I do like to lift heavy objects, and it gave us an excuse to vanish from work, so it was kind of win-win. After we got his new living-room set placed (in the living room, of all places) and got the rental truck dropped off, I gave my friend a lift to work.

On the way, he mentioned that from his enlightened perch in the moving truck, he’d seen scores of people texting and driving. That led to a conversation of texting in general, and how the English language is being mauled and hacked to fit into 160-character messages.

That kind of thing should bother me, but it really doesn’t. I know it bothers a lot of Grammar Nerds, who see it as one step on the road to the complete dumbing-down of our language. But it’s important to remember a couple of things here — one, language is defined by usage; and two, not everyone who uses text-speak or sends off a badly worded email is automatically dumb.

One of my best friends is a prime example. The guy is brilliant, almost 33 years old, and texts like a 14-year-old girl. Rather than find his texts annoying or (as some of my fellow writer friends do) infuriating, I find them amusing, because I know the gentleman in question knows exactly what he’s doing wrong.

If you know how to draw a proper circle, you have full reign to be eccentric.

Now, when they start teaching text-speak in place of English in elementary schools. . . that’s when I’ll worry.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 March 2011 0827

    I just can’t stand text-speak. Not to sound pompous, but I use proper, basic grammar even when on chat and texting as a force of habit. But it’s understandable if you’re in a hurry and just sending off a quick text. Otherwise, it just murders the English language.

    • 17 March 2011 0829

      Oh, don’t get me wrong — I don’t do it, and I don’t like it. It just doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should.

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