Would you believe it if I told you that you suffer from a gruesome disease? Not just any disease, but a global pandemic that is claiming victims one after the other. And the worst part it, it is as silent as the wind, the air which creeps in through your nostrils to sustain your life, it might live inside you and you wouldn’t be able to sense it at all.
This disease renders you incapable of spelling words correctly, even with an ominous red line etched under it. You wouldn’t be able to spell the words correctly even if someone spells it out to you. You gobble up letters, your favourites are the vowels, and you show the finger to grammar as a whole. Even I suffer from this. I am talking about the pandemic called as SMSTalk.
SMSTalk refers to just this. It is a new language, a new dialect that has been born. A dialect which tends to ignore the nuances of English grammar and ridicule the even greater technicalities of spelling. It is a dialect which is not even universal. Every person has their own dialect. My dialect may be different from yours. Your dialect may differ from your friend’s. But still we are able to comprehend the message correctly. Every single time. Pretty cool.
Now to the issue. Is this kind of usage a sacrilege or does it glorify the language further? Or something in between?
I have seen people chivvy others about their language in text messages, or chats. They often tell them to watch their language, not to forget the ifs and buts, to use the proper spelling for every single word. But to be honest, is something like this necessary? SMSTalk was born out of the necessity for speed. You can’t take half an hour for just asking someone to call back, or come over. You can’t spend an eternity going over the usages of ‘had done’, ‘had been done’ and ‘was done’ during a chat conversation. No one wants you to get it right. No one is holding a spelling bee as well. They don’t want to know that you can spell words right. They rarely care (Maybe your English teacher will…). The important thing you send the message quickly.
Omitting letters from words is fairly common nowadays. The thing is, we can still correctly identify the word as long as all the consonants are still there. Other words can often be guessed from the context.
So what is the point?
I for one am someone who gets annoyed when people mis-spell a word in an essay, or else use incorrect grammatical constructs when they right something. But on the other hand, when I see an incredibly long text message with all the ‘please’ and ‘could you’s, I tend to laugh.
I am not saying that SMSTalk is the future of English, in fact I’d be very disappointed if it was, but let’s just do this. When we need tom send messages quickly or chat with a friend, let’s just chuck the rules out and use SMSTalk. But when we write prose, or poetry, let’s utilize the language we know and love, and construct masterpieces with it.
I am eagerly awaiting comments from my fellow bloggers on this topic. Please do comply…