And what a break it was. The child fell ill, and managed to get me an insta forelock of pure grey within three days of continuous high spikes of fever. For more such delightful and deep insights into the cause, the treatment, etc of said fever, details available on karmickids.blogspot. I reserve this blog for the non child part of my life. Which, I must admit, is pretty tiny. Maybe like one tenth of me. Gosh I really need to get out and get me a life. Again. Quick.
Seriously though, I am totally getting on the soap box today about Smsese polluting our language. And the appalling fact that in some place somewhere, I suspect it is the UK but since my memory is not the most accurate at this point having been wrung out like the tepid sponging cloths I worked on for the better part of the last week, I will add a disclaimer and say I think I read it somewhere, that students are allowed to answer examinations in smsese or textese. As the good wikipedia defines it. Suffice to say I fainted on the spot. Many smelly shoes had to be pressed into urgent service, and the masons called it to refit broken flooring.
To me it is heartbreaking. The beauty of a language, with its candences and nuances being chopped mercilessly into the briefest of alphabets meant to signify a word and emoticons coming in to signify feelings. The horror, the horror. Wiser folks than me have had wiser words to write about this new phenomenon.
I read them and nodded sadly. It is true, the English language as I know it, and learnt it and read it is changing in an irrevocable way. I felt rather like Chaucer might have felt had he leafed through Shakespeare’s works a century or so down the line and quivered in horror at the blasphemous spellings that had blighted the flow of sentences. The horror was brought home to me keenly during a recent incident where I found a blog post lifted lock, stock and barrel and transported to another blog. After the brouhaha died down, I received an apology of sorts from the perpetrator, in complete SMS language. Not an apology as much as a claim that the person had read my post once and subconsciously reproduced it in its entirety. Opal Mehta anyone? The letter itself was in smsese for most of it, abbreviations, full of grammatical errors and total disregard for punctuation or capitalisation. It shook me. In a way that can’t be imagined. It was very obvious that the writer was very, very young. At my best guess over two decades younger than me.
I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that such writing came from someone who had filched my stuff. If anything I know that my greatest failing is the inability to keep a sentence within the mandatory readability requirement of 20 words per sentence. It’s done me in many a times. And I know that I skimp on the apostrophe in platforms which dont offer me spell check. But at least the words are spelt out. In full.
And I could just see my son, a few years down the line writing in the same intolerable way. He already shows signs of it by insisting that one alphabet comprises a word and one word makes a sentence whenever it comes to writing practice. I can just see him and his friends converting the entire language into emoticons and heiroglyphs. Or maybe I really am a dinosaur. I type out my text messages in full words most of the times. I think it very undignified to break a word into its consonants and terrorise people into guessing and second guessing what you’re trying to say and risk them having misinterpret it.
You know, I could send the spouse a I lv u and risk having him read it as I am leaving you and do the war dance of joy round the block and dig out his little black book of potential replacements for my good self.
I am judgemental. I judge folks who send me smses with abbreviations and complete lack of grammatical sentences as folks who couldnt be bothered to stick to the niceties of language. Or who dont deem me worthy of taking time out to speak politely and coherently with. It is that equivalent. My equivalent of talking slang and peppering one’s speech with gratuitious swear words. Before I get you good folks here in a sweat and ready to dash off steaming angry comments, please to note I mean the husband. He replies to my smses saying K. What K? I asked once, when I’d smsed him asking him to pick up some stuff on the way home. OK, came the reply. Now even OK, which was a bastardisation of Okay, gets shortened. What next, the individual lines of each alphabet get broken up into parts to make even alphabets shorter?
Yeah, yeah, I know. I have one leg dangling in the coffin. Its the way the youth are today. Sms-ese is the lingo du jour. I’d better keep with it to keep with it in a way that no amount of anti wrinkle cream or hair dye could ever help me with.
The English language is evolving I do agree, every language evolves, new words come in, old words get junked. Tiresome words like Flibbertigibbet are just asking to be chucked out on their heads of course, and newer influences come in from languages from around the globe…what the hell, call me a puritan, but while I welcome the influence of new words strengthening the language with the new meaning they bring in, I am horrified at the thought that in my next birth I might received two word love letters or messages or emoticons instead of the pages of undying love I longed for (Disclaimer: Never got any, the spouse was always a man who handed out his words guardedly, and spoke much more than he could be bothered to pen down. The most romantic I ever got was Luv U. K. This back in 1991. Guess I married the perpetrator of the Sms-ese movement). We did name our child an abbreviation of a popular god too. Although it was more a combination of our names, than the need to shorten the name of said mischievous God. And I am a big one for simple names. You know. I’ve cruelly ruined enough friends’ names through my childhood to have painstakingly examined every potential way a name can be twisted for teasing purposes.
Maybe, in slow and insidious ways I am getting dragged into this movement, despite my reluctance. Maybe I should kick and scream and yell for help in full sentences, with appropriate capitals and punctuation. And maybe no one will understand what I am trying to say.