Archive for April, 2010

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Grammatically speaking

April 6, 2010

OMG i jst herd da koolest story LOL itz soooo gr8 ROFL 2 tru luv u L8R

Does anyone else’s head hurt? Sorry I had to put you through that, but I’m trying to prove a harsh point. What you just read (if you could even read it) is unfortunately similar to a great deal of the writing done by children, teens, and adults as a direct result of modern technology.

If I had to guess, I’d say it all goes back to the notes kids pass around in school. They are usually written in some form of shorthand so that they can be created quickly and passed on to their intended reader. Then there was instant messaging and beeper lingo, followed by texting. Facebook status messages followed. Now, there’s Twitter. Who knows what will be next to distort our poor language.

I was a writing tutor during college and couldn’t believe the papers students were brought me. Poor grammar, terrible spelling (even with spell check!), crazy punctuation, no thesis statements, no sentence structure… some of those papers were just unbearable! What was causing such widespread, terrible writing?

My only thought continues to be that writing skills across the board are being negatively affected by the proliferation of shorthand tech outlets available to young children. If they are exposed to this style of writing from a young age, it’s hard to blame them when they reach college and cannot draft a proper introduction.

And it’s not just writing style that has been affected by gadgets and Web sites. I’d also say that good penmanship has greatly diminished as a result of computers. Personally, my handwriting is pretty awful. I tell myself that it’s because I spend far more time typing that I do actually picking up a pen. Although, I do seem to recall being scolded in third grade for sloppy handwriting… sorry, Sister Robertine!

What can be done to correct these horrendous occurrences in today’s youth? The children, teens and college students of today will soon be the leaders of tomorrow. Do we really want future legislation written in 140 characters or less? Should novels start including emoticons so readers know how to react? Will people even be reading novels??

I recently got a new phone that has a full QWERTY keyboard. I’ve decided that with this phone, I will now send texts that are grammatically correct with proper punctuation. I will also use complete sentences in my emails, status messages and wall posts. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change my own habits.

Won’t you please join me and save our language? If we all do our part, maybe we can stop the madness!

Please share your thoughts about how communication has changed over time due to advances in technology. Do you feel that your personal skills have diminished? If yes, how?

[This post goes out to a wonderful blog reader, Debbie. Thanks for the great idea!]

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