l2spell kthxbye

Raph asks, Is Text Chat Corrupting Our Language? I agree with his answer and direct you here for an understanding of why. The letter that Bob Yates transcribes is not some off-the-cuff IM — it is a representative letter to a head of state. I will fully grant that more stupid things are written today than ever before in history. This is because more people are writing today than ever before in history. A century ago, a 50% literacy rate would not have been bad. Now anyone with a two-digit IQ can get on LiveJournal, MySpace, and Blogspot to tell you all about what her cats did today (LOL!) or how he wtfpwned that n00bz0r pally (cmn l2p). Our language has been corrupt for centuries, we just have slightly different forms of degeneracy these days, combined with better records of it.

: Zubon

Yes, I am a daily reader of a blog about linguistics. I read a lot.

4 thoughts on “l2spell kthxbye”

  1. Eh, I don’t know. As much as I dislike text/l33t and their derivatives, I think they’re a symptom and not the disease.

    For decades, and aided by our technological progress, our culture has been leaning constantly on doing things faster, but not necessarily better. People far too often mistake efficiency with speed, and that lies at the root of the problem (amongst other things, of course).

    Over the last 60-70 years the constant cultural drive has been to live our lives faster, not necessarily better or to make them more fulfilling. Fast food joints, meals that cook increasingly faster, faster cars, faster computers, communications. Faster-acting medicines. Shorter terms of education, condensed topics, summaries.

    We only write in txt because we have keyboards to do it, and the keyboard itself was an invention to make the input of data to a computer faster. We pay no attention to grammar because we either have a spell-checker going on, or we know that if it comes to that our mistake is just one backspace away. It never existed. There’s no paper to show any signs of a correction or a mistake.

    I don’t know if txt is ‘corrupting’ the language. It’s only been made possible by our technological progress. That’s its enabler. If people are using technology to nullify or alleviate tedious aspects of their daily life, then that’s no different than what people were doing ten thousand years ago.

    The question is not if taking five seconds instead of fifteen to communicate an idea is corrupting the language. The question is why we have been, as a culture, pushing ourselves to do it always in five or less. Solve this desire and addiction we seem to have to speed, and you’ll solve txt. When you only have (or when you only ‘feel’ you have) five seconds to communicate a thought, then txt is an easy way out. When you have all the time in the world (which all people do, but don’t seem to realize that) then txt only makes you look like a spastic idiot.

  2. What I also don’t get is why people don’t just spell out the whole word. U for you, R for are, etc. And txt? Why can’t you just put the ‘e’ in it? It’s only one letter.

  3. Julian – ironically, I’ll explain how И see things in the most laconic of ways :
    Life is short.
    In multiplayer / mmo it’s shorter.

  4. Life was shorter a century ago, but we still managed to find the time and write complete words.

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