Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Languages Die...LoL!


Have you ever wondered how Latin died out as a language?  Me too!  Unfortunately, I would rather make up a reason in order to prove my point than tell you the real one!  You see, it is my belief that the Romans were so exhausted from killing Barbarians, non-Christians, Pagans, and each other, that they got really tired of speaking and writing in long, complete sentences.  Latin became known only to the people that needed to know it (priests and the like) and everyone else briefly forgot how to communicate until the Italian language came into existence.  

I see this happening now, and have seen it happening ever since AIM was cool back in the fourth grade. It bothered me then, and it bothers me to this day.  Maybe it's the English major in me, I don't know, but holy fuck, does anybody know how to use commas and apostrophes anymore?  Or capital letters?  

Before this goes any further, there are a few issues I would like to clarify:

1) I want it known that I am not targeting people that do this every now and then.  My issue is more with the concept of shortening words and eliminating basic grammar than it is with the people that do it.  
2) Yes, you've seen me use what is called (whether you know it or not 1337 speek, or "leet speak") in several of my posts, but notice that I only do it for a laugh.  In other words, there isn't a font for "moron" so I use this leet speak.
3) I realize that texting and Twitter makes long typing difficult.  I don't have any problem with the texting (if you have received one from me, I'm sure you noticed that I do my best to actually use grammar) because the cell phone companies have our balls in a vice-grip on that one.  And Twitter's purpose is to keep what you say short, although I would argue that if you have to use leet speak to avoid going over the 140 character limit, you're probably missing the point of Twitter.

So why does this bother me?  Because it makes people seem lazy and a tad bit idiotic.  Whenever I see a comment or text or Facebook news feed that is along these lines, "last nite wuz awsome lol", I fucking cringe.  My body literally goes into a brief, minor convulsion that ends with my eye twitching.  What's even more hilarious is when people write the same thing, and either end it with a period or put a comma before "lol".  Right, because as the receiver of that message, I would think you less lazy with a comma and a period than without them.  Okay.

Imagine you are the owner of a local business store, and you get a resume that looks somewhat like this:

Ed: sopo high skool
       gpa: 2 or sum shit
       College:  nun

Work Exp: i wrkd 4 BK flippin burgers 4 phat ppl  may 2006-may 2009
                     shud i hav moar?

Skillz: lvl 80 ninja on wow
            i no how 2 pop a cap in sum 1s a$$
            i speek well, g00d ppl skillz!!!!1

Activites and Honors: i wuz employee of da month @ BK 3x!

References: ur mom lol

Looks like a fantastic future employee, doesn't he?  I'm sure he does.  You're looking at an individual who would rather go out of his way to put zeroes in the word "good" than just hit the "o" key. Don't even get me started on the two dollar signs in "ass" either.  I know some people do it to avoid writing a swear, but that is some really screwed up logic.  See, I know the word is "ass", and by typing it, you're making me say it in my head.  So instead of you being the one to man up and swear, I have to be the one to do it.  And guess what speaking is?  It's putting your thoughts into someone else's fucking head through transmission of sound.

Anyway, that's a bit off track.  Mark my words, this laziness will become the death of the English language.  You've got racists worrying about Spanish becoming the official language of the U.S., when I'd be more concerned (far more concerned) with the rise of leet speak and ebonics.  I'll save that second one for a later post.

No, I'm not a "grammar/spelling nazi".  But seeing this speaks volumes to me about the people that habitually use this when talking to others on the internet.  Trust me when I say that holding down the shift key and hitting a letter is not that time consuming.  Nor is spanking that comma or apostrophe key, which requires no holding down of the shift key at all!  Huzzah!  I honestly wish that an individual could add up all the time they've saved over the years of instant messaging like this.  Maybe a program could be used to detect how much time you've spent chatting, and how often those messages are "leeted".  A big message would pop up that would say, "U saved 9 seconds of ur life typing lik a r-tard!!!1 how did u use them?  hopefully u used teh 9 seconds 2 go bak 2 skool dum a$$"

If I start, in my future teaching career, running across kids that have no idea how to write an essay, let alone a single paragraph, without pulling this kind of shit, my first day of classes will probably go something like this:

7:00- Bell rings.
7:01- Students enter (because the door was shut until the bell rang- yes, that's how I roll).
7:05- All students are sent to the nurse because I beamed copies of English Grammar For Dummies at their eager-to-learn faces.  And yes, that book actually exists.

Hmmm...I can't seem to find "lollerskatz" anywhere in here...

Let's talk acronyms for a second, shall we?  Acronyms are abbreviations of entire sentences using (usually) the initial letter of each word in the phrase.  Examples include btw, lol (and any version of it), brb, jk, brt, omw, g2g... the list goes on and on.  While it isn't bad to use these in texting, for reasons explained above, it is extremely irritating when people actually say this to each other out loud.  See, words have these things called syllables, and syllables are a good measure of how long it takes to form and say a sound.  So, "got to go" and "g2g" take up the exact same amount of speaking time.  You saved no time, and you sound like an asshole.  In fact, the only acronym in the list above that saves any time is "jk", as it is two syllables and "just kidding" is three.  Congratulations.  What ever will you do with that millisecond of your time?

(If you are literate and skilled in grammar, go ahead and skip the red text)

Another thing that pisses me off come from things we learned in elementary school, but for some reason, chose not to retain.  For example, the differences between "your" and "you're".  Youre is not a fucking word.  Put an apostrophe in there.  And it is used as "you are", as in "You're a waste of breathable oxygen for not using the word correctly."  When you say, "I think your so funny!"  I say, "I think you're so stupid!"  See the difference?!  

Same goes for there/they're/their, then/than, affect/effect:

-The word "there" describes a place or destination, as in, "It's over there."  
-The word "they're" (see you're) is used when talking about a group of people, as in "They're (they are) over there."
-The word "their" is used when talking about something that belongs to another person(s).  "That is their problem, not yours."

-"Then" is used when you are talking about a timeline.  "He took his book, and then hit his friend with it."
-"Than" is used when comparing two or more objects.  "The book hurt more than an ass kicking from his father, as it struck him on the temple with the hardcover corner."

-"Effect" is used when talking about the result of something.  "The effect of the earthquake..."
-"Affect" is used when you're talking about something harming or helping something else.  "The earthquake did not affect the people of 1337 town."

Grammar lesson over?  No.  I have one last thing to talk about.  Apostrophes.  Fucking use them.  Please.  Stop saying "its" when you mean "it is", and put a goddamn apostrophe between the t and the s. It's, you're, they're, wasn't, doesn't, and isn't all have apostrophes because they are contractions.  The apostrophe, in other words, is taking the place of one or more letters.  Example:  "Wasn't" is "was not", "you're" is "you are", etc..

Okay, that's that.  Please realize that whenever you write like this, you're hurting your past, present, and future English teachers.  You are hurting your employers that have to or will read your writing.  And you're hurting your current or future children with the knowledge that their mother or father is borderline illiterate.  Again, I understand the need to shorten cell phone texts.  If it were longer, you'd just fucking call the person you were typing to.  Plus, why send two texts for ten cents when you can shorten it to one for five cents?  Yes, you can look for a cell phone post later.

Thanks for wasting one of my texts with nonsense, bitch.  
Don't send me texts that I can't respond to!  

There is one last thing I'd like to mention.  I am intelligent enough to convey when something is funny without seeing "lol" plastered on to the beginning or end of every message I read.  At least do me the common courtesy of writing "hahaha".  Let's face it, who really "laughs out loud" after reading something funny?  Maybe 40% of the time "lol" is used (but when you get deep into it, like with "rofl" or "lmfaorof", that's when you know that something was absolutely fucking hilarious).  "lol" is lazy, and if you have to shorten something as complex as human laughter and joyful emotions down to three tiny letters, you are insulting the process of natural selection with every second that you waste air.

P.S.  There is no excuse to substitute numbers in for letters, ever.  "But-" Ever.  I'm serious here.  Whenever I get a text that has numbers mixed with letters, I instantly delete it.  Why?  Because it looks like you slammed your fingers onto your keyboard multiple times and then sent me a shitty text.  Why should I have to decode your messages when you can't even be bothered to put in the time and effort to write out a few extra letters?  This isn't National Treasure.  And no, this doesn't go against my text-shortening rule, because text is text and numbers are numbers.  See what I did there?!

English class is out, bitches. STFU and GTFO kthnxbye.


Bryan said...

Nice! I really wanted to type my response in leet, but couldn't figure out quite how.

Shaun said...

lmao np d00d!!!1 its ez just b supr lazy + tak3 0ut sum vowls nd use #s! cwutididthar!?

Bryan said...


Vanessa Blanchard said...

I sometimes have issues with remembering the difference between affect and effect, especially since affect also relates to expression of emotions. I at least worry about it though. Also, leaving out the apostrophe in it's is doubly wrong because now the person is using the possessive form. While I do worry about the demise of our language because of texting and the internet in general, I can't help but noticing that older generations tend to also have terrible grammar. They still use full words and sentences just without capitalizing or any punctuation, often allowing multiple sentences to run together as one. It's OUR language, we shouldn't be so damn lazy with it.

Shaun said...

Absolutely, Vanessa! And language is such a beautiful thing! Why destroy it by cutting it up and serving it in fragments (hehe, English pun)?

As for the affect/effect, that was one part of the post that I didn't mean to insult anybody about. Many people have trouble with it, and I was merely clarifying the difference. Hope you didn't take any offense to it! :D

Vanessa Blanchard said...

No offense taken at all! I was just using that as an example of how language is difficult and requires attention and thought. :)

Shaun said...

Exactly! Thought! It requires thought! Am I alone in viewing those that cut down language to be a bit... lazy? I don't mean that in a bad way- we all cut corners in life- but it's one of those underlying notions you get about people when speaking to them online, or seeing the stuff they throw around on Facebook.

Tom Major said...

Latin never died. It evolved into Spanish, French, Romanian, Portuguese, and Italian. They kept speaking it all along, but they stopped declining their nouns, introduced other words adopted from their immigrant neighbors, altered the syntax, and varied the pronunciation. But fundamentally it's all still Latin.

Shaun said...

Haha, I know, Maj! It's why I said I would rather make up a reason (because my version is a bit more funny).

But if what you are saying about Latin is true... that could mean that the English language is going to adopt from Leet Speek, Ebonics, and other variations! We're doomed!

Hannah Kramer said...

I think you forgot prolly/probly/probably. That's my favorite.


Shaun said...

Ah, yes, I did indeed forget "prolly". Taking out that one syllable saves you LOADS of nanoseconds.