Now, before we start I do not claim to be a professor nor expert upon the English language. Indeed, as you continue to read those with a keener eye for detail will notice that I use too many commas and, despite my best efforts, my sentences are way too long! That being said the quality of my writing is (I hope) at least reaches acceptable standards and you can understand it, easily enough.
How long will this continue to be the case though? All languages go through a natural evolution and anyone that has read a book older than a few decades will notice that the way many phrases are constructed are fundamentally different from what might be considered the “norm” today.
Yet over the last six or seven years there has been an undeniable explosion of mutations within the English language. The cause: Technology!
I would not want to write here that I am not a great believer in technology. Yet the global spread of mobile phones, palm tops and the internet has brought with it a pandemic of bastardised words. The key offenders are of course well known throughout society today with even technophobes being vaguely aware of what: AFK, BRB, LOL & OMG mean.
Like all abbreviations (a surprisingly long word considering what it is used for!), these have their place and anyone that has done internet gaming or been trying to fit a huge message into a tiny letter allowance on a mobile phone will argue loudly the boons these words provide. I will concede this without argument.
Stop waffling and get to the point I hear you cry!
Ok. These words are now becoming a common part of everyday language that is spoken to each other & not just by hoody wearing youths trying to hide their true intentions by using a code! It no longer surprises me to hear someone shout: OMG, when they get startled or: WTF, when they are confused and/or angry.
Does this mark the starting point that will result in the decline of a once proud language into nothing more than a long list of abbreviations and short hands? Accompanied by the hack and slash method of re-vamping words to make them more marketable (Lite – now with 20% less letters!).
Where will this end? Plans have been discussed several times for UK schools to “translate” the works of Shakespeare, not just into “proper” English but into “Street Speak”!
Surely such a activity ultimately defeats the point of the works entire existence – why not merely get every piece of literature throughout the ages and rework it to make it more accessible?
Painfully enough, words such as LOL and OMG have already managed to find their way into the OED.
Of course this will not affect the vast majority of use: I will continue to send grammatically correct texts despite it taking me ten minutes to type them out on my phone (which I have just recovered from the washing machine!). But be warned, the day is near when your phone bill will arrive and look like this:
“U O lz v csh n py 4 w cm n bt v up!”