I’m not one to look down upon efficiency. If I was bold enough, I’d probably be the owner of the “I’m not lazy, I’m just efficient” t-shirt that you occasionally see over-weight people wearing (not having a go- just an observation). However, efficiency and laziness are two of the biggest arguments or retaliations I receive when I correct people’s grammar over Facebook, BBM, or texts. Yes, I’m that guy.
Before you throw tomatoes at me, let me explain my predicament. I grew up in a household governed by two ESL teachers. I believe that should be enough said.
Now I really don’t have an issue with “u” and “r” and the plethora of short forms people have created. My problem lies with the reality that kids have forgotten how to spell the actual words properly. The argument that gets thrown at me at this point of the typical conversation is: “Hey, if ppl undstnd wat i tring 2 say, isnt dat mor eficent?” (Must chuckle at Microsoft Word here for correcting some of those- I actually had to go back and “fix” that sentence).
To some extent I agree with the meaning behind the “sentence” above. However, it seems that its argument has found itself atop a triple black diamond ski hill.
I once came across a comment on a Facebook status that truly pained me. I love this example because not only is the comment bad, but the context fits b-e-a-utifully (Sorry- I watched Bruce Almighty last night). The status was something along the lines of: I should really start going to my classes because my marks are abominable. The comment below stated: “finely u get it”.
I’m positive that people see things like this on Facebook every day and start to believe they are correct. Buried among the minefield of there, their, and they’re are so many other words that rarely come up in Generation Y and Z’s conversations that when we attempt to dig them up, they blow up and become unrecognizable.
In my university’s Computer Science mid-term, there was a question that simply asked them to spell the word “occurrence” because so many failed to spell it correctly during a major assignment!
We live in a world where approximately 14 new words are added to the English language per day, yet the vocabulary of each successive generation is declining.
Now that I’ve made my own arguments, I’m going to poke holes in the usual rebuttals I receive. I’m going to tackle the rebuttal that states “internet speak” is efficient and time saving.
It isn’t. There have been countless times where I have received a text from a friend and had a very limited idea as to what they were attempting to communicate to me. When this happens I have to then reply asking for clarification, wait for a response, and then reply again accordingly.
This reminds me of my Business 101 class where you discover that preventive costs are usually less than clean-up costs. For example: Pay for an extra inspection (slight cost) versus recalling a million products off a shelf (major cost). This draws parallels with the messages you send. Those 10 seconds you spend re-reading your message and correcting it or those 30 seconds you spend opening a new tab on Firefox and Googling the correct spelling of a word (Yes I do this) takes up less time than the combined total of: the minute an average person spends (made this statistic up based on my own observations) trying to figure out what you meant by the message, the 5 seconds a text takes to get from iPhone A to Blackberry B, the 30 seconds you spend rephrasing your original message, and the 10 seconds it takes for a text to get from Blackberry B to iPhone A (I felt the Oxford comma was necessary here- sorry if you dislike it). So no, I do not think that your messages are more efficient.
I think (stolen from a discussion with my ESL-teaching father) that a message is no longer looked at from the receiver’s point of view. Texting has had a pernicious effect on the sender’s ability to see how a message will be interpreted. They assume now that everyone will understand exactly what they are trying convey rdraselges of waht oedrr you hpaepn to pclae the ltteres in (granted you keep the first and last letter in place right? RIGHT?!) The message is no longer sent with the receiver in mind, which defenestrates (possibly one of the greatest words ever) grammar, clarity and ultimately efficiency. Now isn’t that ironic! Just like when you’re late for work and stuck in a traffic jam, right Alanis?
Please save me, and countless others, the pain we get from seeing your abhorrent misuse of the English language (Yes, pain. It really does hurt) online and over texts. I’m personally getting tired of correcting the same mistakes over and over. Do it for grandpa! He doesn’t want to become dinner.
So yes, I will make a fuss over your misspelt words and grammatical mistakes because until you can prove that you know how to properly use the language, I can only assume the worst. Perhaps you’ll understand what I mean one day when you’re writing that in-class essay and can’t remember which witch is which.