Linguistic speculations on Internet language
These days the variation of English I’m most fascinated with are the online variations. There are all sorts of new and flexible ways to use spelling, punctuation, abbreviations, grammar, vocabulary, morphemes….
It’s a great new language playground to mess about in!! I think it’s the rebel in me: I love seeing how everyone is breaking all the rules and getting away with it. Count me in! I rejoice in texting talk (ttyl, LOL—once I mashed the keyboard with my fist and send the letter blob to a colleague who uses lots of texting acronyms—took him half an hour of searching to realize I’d just sent him random letters). I love tweeting talk (RT@someoneyouknow), I love using “i” and “u,” adding “z” to wordz, writing “thru” defiantly, and isn’t it gr8 2 use #s, 2?
Purist writer colleagues shudder. They point to the degradation of the language and bemoan the fate of the English language: everyone is writing like first graders or worse and getting away with it! It is all so sick and wrong.
My theory on the future of the English language
Here’s what I say to calm them down: maybe we could potentially end up with two written variations of English:
- High English (formal, academic English with set rules and guidelines for professional and international text)
- Common English (informal, “improper” but commonly accepted English with evolving and flexible rules for everyday communication)
The fact that my purist friends know the High English well would be beneficial for them. They’d be in demand as fewer and fewer people would be able to write in High English, but it would be necessary for professional, international documents.
The Common English would not be accepted as the academic or business standard due the constant changes in its use. It would, however, be the most used variation for casual, online communication where you don’t have to worry about conventions or rules—you just need to get your message across.
What do you think?
Will we ever see teachers accepting essays about “wat i did @ summr vctn”?