It started when rap music began getting MTV Awards. I couldn't understand a word they were singing. And still can't, unless it's my seven-year-old granddaughter rapping. I can appreciate musical melodies, good voices, and rhythmic steps. I just want to be able to understand the language (or in some cases, am glad I don't!).
I studied the world's classic literature. I taught classic and contemporary English and American literature. I read all the time. Then I got a cell phone.
I'm "hip" enough to text on the cell, and must admit that sometimes I'm rushed, like everyone else. That is the only conceivable time I will abbreviate "you" to "u," or "too" to "2," etc. I have to assume that everyone else is in a rush twenty-four hours/day, seven days a week (notice I didn't use 24/7) and must use these abbreviations constantly.
Which brings me to my concern that the English language is going down the tubes, or should I say that it is going onto UTube? There is no auto-correct on UTube, but auto-correct is merely fodder for Facebook jokes, anyway, and is part of the problem. No-one has to use a dictionary anymore.
Oh yes, the acronyms - they are beyond me. For the longest time, I thought "lol" was "lots of love!"
As a published author, if I were to write blog posts and emails with abbreviations, errors, and lots of slang, readers would think I'm dum, unprofossional, and careles. Shouldn't I have higher standards?
Of course I know that our language changes constantly - daily. I actually took graduate courses on how this happens, and I can "chill" with the rest of us old fogies.
But when I ask a receptionist for the room number of a patient named "Pat Priestly," I do not expect to be told there is no-one in the hospital named "Pat Priestly," if indeed there is a "Patricia Priestly" in Room 403! Does anyone still teach English as I knew it?
Which brings me to my ray of hope. I read a Sunday N.Y. Times article (April 1, 2012) about junior-high students who have used print-on-demand technology to self-publish their books and sell on-line (with the indulgence of Mom and Dad, who pay the fees). Yes, part of writing is living, exploring, and interacting with the world as we mature. Yes, parents could pay additional fees for a professional editor to tear a child's manuscript apart as a reality check. But look at the bright side. Someone is teaching these kids a form of English they can actually replicate. And it is legible enough for readers to understand! The kids are inspiring writers of all ages to corner a market with English as I knew it. So what if they use "Spell Check?"