Monday, October 18, 2010

More than just a few missing words...

I am no longer hesitant to admit that my parents are correct about a slew of things that occur in my life.  In fact, their advice and words of wisdom arrive with near fortune-telling precision.

I wouldn't have agreed with that statement a few years ago, but as I mature into my late twenties, I am more aware of many things they've been telling me, or told me, growing up.   Honestly, I've started to see much of what they said and predicted come to fruition, and here's an example that prompted this post.  It might just work to raise your awareness.

Five or six years ago, my mom and I were having a random conversation about words and the English language in general.  Out of nowhere, the word "texting" came up.  At that time, texting was somewhat of a new word, and texting alone was still quite the phenomenon.  Anyway, we started to joke about how texting was beginning to consume an entire form of communication between people.  Jokingly, we put the word "text" into its many forms ("sexting" and "flexting" had not, however, been thought up yet).  We agreed that our favorite was "texted" because when commonly said, no emphasis is added to either syllable since the second, -ted, is said with such vigor.  TEX-TED!

It was during this conversation where my mom dropped some of that knowledge, which I have somewhat avoided--until recently.  Boy, was she spot-on!  Almost word for word, she said, "Trevor, texting will be the downfall of the English language."

Sound and substantial advice, yet simple, subtle, and precise.  Here's why:

At that time, cell phone service providers were still trying to figure ways to divy out and make profits from text messaging plans, and I guarantee you that neither of my parents had ever read texts before--let alone sent one.  (A brief side note: I think we can all remember that first text message from each parent *awkwardbut it has grown on you.  Eventually, you came to relish in an ability to delay the inevitable phone conversations with a mere tap of the thumbs.  Ahh, what splendid freedom!)

Now, let's get back to the point I am trying to make.

Basically, my mom had it right a few years back.  She predicted, with precision, what has now metamorphosed typed and texted English, and here's the bottom line: we are getting very, very lazy.

Over the next few days, take notice of emails and texts you receive and send--especially the emails.  You might just notice what I'm telling you.  What will appear to be normal sentences, with basic elements compiled to make complete sentences, are now truncated, shortened, and abbreviated.  I'm not talking about acronyms (LOL; LMAO; DAB; DTF); I'm talking about when the typer or texter has dropped more than a few words and fragmented the hell out of their sentence.  Here's a few examples:

(Text) "Played football at the white house."
(Text) "Not a fan of the nickname."
(Text) "Sorry about missing your call." -- This is one is my pet peeve because it removes ownership to the apology when you don't say "I'm sorry."
(Email) "Thought you might get a kick out of this."
(Text) "Was watching the Giants game."
(Text) "Still feel like getting drinks?"

What happened to the pronouns?  Is it really that much effort to add an "I" or "You" or "I'm" at the beginning of a sentence or question?  Seriously, it's a problem, and this is exactly what my mom was referring to.  What's worse, the laziness has infiltrated the type of emails being exchanged in professional settings, and it's frightening.

Here's a thought: try and counteract the effect of being lazy in your writing, typing and texting, and instead, be grammatically correct with EVERYTHING.  It truly commands respect, and I have to say, it's also contagious.

I only say this now because from what I can tell, as I scroll through previous text messages and emails, I reply to the texters and typers who use proper English with proper English of my own.  And then I come across texts and emails where I succumb to the lazy culprits, and alas, I give my thumbs a rest.

So just try it.  Dare ya.  Should be easy.  Nothing to lose!

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love this post. For so many reasons. And I love you! (Notice, not "Love you", but "I love you.") xo Mom