Language has evolved and keeps evolving. These days new words are being added to the dictionaries yearly. Millennials today, chop, drop, screw, cut and paste letters together on the basis of length and sound. Maybe u dnt knw wt am tlkn about, bt it apnz all d time. Take a look at the average message between any two young adults. If you’re as old as I am you will have a challenge trying to figure out what it means.
“I’m gd u?”
“Abt 2 lv skl and go 2 d mall”
Every now and again I get lost in the translation or rather, the inability to translate. It’s as if I have to keep learning every day. Being ignorant could be a serious cause for embarrassment. I should tell you that these kids will not hesitate to laugh you to scorn.
The text language of the average 20 year old is distinctly different from that of an average 35 year old. We who are older may send messages to them and it’s understood for the most part. However, the problem comes when they respond. Then you have to invite Google to assist or find some willing youngster who will be understanding enough to interpret what was sent. If you’re good with context clues then you may be able to decipher much of it. When that fails, then one has to resort to saying the words out loud to maybe make some sense of it all.
There has been plenty of complaints by teachers, examiners and employment agencies about the plethora of shorthand phrases, common to the texting world, that’s making their way into formal writing. In my short stint as a teacher, I have witnessed it firsthand. Students in responding to test questions sometimes forget that they’re not corresponding with a pal and include “text language” in their responses.
It is inappropriate to use these shorthand phrases in formal writing and one should always refrain from doing this. Practice makes perfect, so persons who spend a lot time texting will inadvertently find a few errors in their writing. This becomes very important when you’re applying for a job and that first impression is found in that application letter. It’s sometimes hilarious to read emails from students formally requesting particular actions by teachers or lecturers. Some are clueless as to what a formal letter means and it does hurt their reputation.
On the balance though, I have begun to wonder if their will come a day when we accept text language as formal. I’ve seen some bizarre and strange things become accepted as norm. Bruce Jenner is now recognized as a woman despite living for over 50 years as a man. Donald Trump is now a front runner in the US presidential election. This makes you wonder what’s next?
Until then, there’s a time and place for everything, one’s ability to appreciate this will greatly influence their level of success. Gentlemen, observe the rules and practice proper etiquette and you will be well on your way. If you think you need help, do an online writing course. I recommend Edx. On their website, top tier universities across the world offer courses you can take for free. Check them out and sign up. Be in the know.
That’s it for this week.
Regardless of what you think, style is personal. Do you.