Technology has influenced the changes in the English language to the point that text speak is finding its way into everyday verbal and written forms of communication whether it is on a social or a professional level.
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to this topic. The emergence of text speak is seen by some as a natural evolution of the English language to suit the changing needs of its speakers. In a technology savvy world where everything is done yesterday, shortening words and omitting grammar is languages way of keeping up with this pace. Historically language has continuously changed to suit its speakers at that time, how many people do you find still speaking Shakespearean English today?
Others would disagree that the use of text speak is a sign of laziness. To some extent I would agree, why else would you opt to use ‘C U L8r’ instead of saying ‘See you later’? Is it quicker to type and uses fewer characters.
I have nothing against the use of text speak, if it means I can write a text message that little bit quicker and it still makes sense then I’ll use it. When writing an email at work, and commenting on other people’s articles, blogs I tend to use the correct spelling and grammar. This is where I think the up and coming generations, the future workforce are not differentiating between when to use text speak and when to use ‘correct’ English.
The younger generation have taken to using text speak like duck to water resulting in this adapted language leaving the digital world and finding its way into the classroom and onto employment application forms, which can reflect negatively on that individual. Before smartphones and social media, communication was generally conducted through face to face conversations, telephoning via a land line or writing a letter. Spelling, grammar and accents were considered to be a reflection on the area where the speaker was originally from and their level of intelligence. This type of attitude is stereotypical and snobbish. You only have to watch the reality TV show TOWIE to hear the casts strong Essex accent (Not all Essex people have that kind of accent). Essex people have a reputation of not being very bright, I can tell you that despite the accent there are plenty of intelligent and successful Essex people out there!
Is the drama surrounding the use of text speak outside of the digital world another form of discrimination? To some extent, yes. I think we have to be smart about when it is appropriate to use text speak and when it isn’t. As of yet I’m not sure if text speak is a universal language, so if you were writing an email or text message to someone whose first language was not English they may not understand your message, they would be sitting there with their text speak dictionary trying to decipher your coded message.
Maybe it is an age thing. My youngest sister is 20 and some of the text messages I receive from her give me a headache from trying to figure out what she is saying. In the end I give up and reply back with question marks, until she speaks in a form of English I understand.
Spelling and grammatical errors seem to be targeted on social media sites, especially during online arguments. The article ‘Twitter users can’t spell’ reported the results of an analysis of almost one million randomly selected online interactions across Twitter, forums, Facebook and Google+ in the month of March over a three-year period carried out by Bandwatch. In the defence of Twitter users, they have to be creative in order to get their message across in 140 characters.
Like it or not, text speak is here to stay. It is a part of the way many of us digitally communicate with each other. What effect it will have on the English language as a whole remains to be seen.
The Gen Y, the Millennial generation have been brought up on this digital language causing it to evolve to the state it is in today. We have seen the acronyms LOL, OMG and FYI enter the English Dictionary. These generations are the future, in theory replacing the existing work force. In order to attract and retain the attention of this generation will the way companies use to advertise their products and themselves. At the risk of alienating the mature work force, to attract new candidates will jobs boards have to adapt and adopt this new shortened language into their search engines, instead of Support Manager will it become Spprt Mngr? How will it affect domains and company names, will users srch 4 www.jobserve.com?
For now I would really like it when I’m having a verbal conversation if the other person would not use ‘lol’, I can see them laughing out loud!
This article can also be viewed on www.jobserve.com.