Bad, bad English!

Disclaimer: The following post is purely subjective and only represents my views of how I see the English language dying a slow, painful death. In no way does it represent my dislike of people who use the terminology below because I am sure they dont realise the disservice they are doing to the language. I certainly do not represent any association that works for upholding the language or such.

Call me old fashioned but the chopped-off, alien language that passes off for English nowadays really puts me off. I can tolerate a little abbreviations here and there, but to completely hack words in meaningless stubs out of sheer laziness is deeply painful. I am probably going to be sniggered at for this post for being a fuddy-duddy (Hah!) but this is my blog, and well, I am going to let it flow. Here are some of the enervating words we come across everyday but they make my head spin with grief - because it's too much to see the language I have spent so much time and effort perfecting, being massacred.

List of the English language's most gruesome aberrations:

LOL: Unfortunately, this very common and very irritating term reminds me of AIDS, SARS and other deadly diseases. It sounds like someone is dying with a very painful, incurable and mentally debilitating disease, which is partly true, because people who use it think it makes more sense than a simple Haha!

OMG: Oh My God is again a very common exclamation, but only if they would say it that way! All we get to hear is oh-em-jee which is like the sound of a chalk screeching on a blackboard to me.

Ma: Not a new term because all during the seventies, Maaaaa was a common refrain in Hindi movies. But, horror of horrors, this has actually come to mean 'my'. And I simply fail to understand the logic behind this. There's no extra effort required in writing 'my' in place of 'ma'. It in no way goes with the English accents we have in India. I would understand a rapper saying this, but a student who hails from UP/Kerala/Calcutta? It simply makes no sense and it sounds ridiculous.

dat: Aaaaargh!!! This 'totally' makes my blood boil! I mean, it's sooooo easy to write 'tht' so why make it sound like a programming language? Same number of words too!

Kewl: Clueless about this one. It's far easier to write 'cool' or 'kool' and it's also aesthetically appealing. Kewl sounds like a cough and cold syrup.

Okies, Babes, Bye-Byes: Sounds like plural diarrhea. Where one would have thought people (ppl?) would have been concerned about making things shorter, they've started adding an extra 's' which not only doesnt look cool, it makes them look like they flunked in English in Grade 3 and joined a vernacular school (which I would totally support).

Um: It seriously took me a while to figure out that this is actually 'am'. Enough said.

The list is endless but I guess I've made my point clear. As we can see from the examples above, it is not really about convenience. Most aberrations have the same or even more number of letters where a perfectly simple shortening is possible such as 'abt', 'tht', 'whn' etc. But I guess this is some kind of rebellion where words are being intentionally twisted to stand apart from the (sane) crowd.

It's not even that people are sending SMSes from mobiles that have just 9 buttons. Almost everyone has a Qwerty keypad or a touchscreen. And even if not that, there's always predictive text!

But then, I guess that the fuddy-duddy inside me talking.
Musings 7499388116189245779

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AMODINI said...

I don't SMS but use LOL/ROTFLOL/OMG quite a bit. In writing only though - I don't actually hear this stuff in spoken conversation. Do you ? Are people actually saying OMG ?

In writing the rapper language really gets me going, especially if it is totally put-on, ie; the person writing out the "ma" and the "dat" is doing it to sound "kewl".

As for being fuddy-duddy, more power to you - someone must take a stand on grammar :-)

Tarana Khan said...

@Amodini - I have heard OMG being said out...that's why it's so sad!

Thanks for the support :)

Gugan said...

In my opinion....all these abbreviations r used mostly by girls ,esp the ones in their teen ages..and they think its cool to use them.Boys in order to look cool to all those girls just copy them..and thts the way it spreads...

Gugan said...


looks like u've gone too busy these days...every time i leave a comment on ur blog i'd hope tht u would pay a visit to mine...

hope u don't mind me sayin this...

Sapna Nair said...

there's also this excruciatingly irritating trend of un-G-ing words. like goin, eatin, wantin. as if just writing the 'g' would end deforestation!

Abdusalaam al-Hindi said...

I'm so with you on this one. This is one reason I hate reading twitter messages. It's like deciphering an alien language. I know there is a character limit, but don't abbreviate to the point it becomes nonsense. And people who want to be taken seriously should never use this kind of language. (Here I'm alluding to Shashi Tharoor's twitter page.) It makes them sound like a teenage high-school girl texting on their cellphones.

Also, you bring up a good point in reference to the word 'my' being spelled as 'ma.' I always say, don't write in an accent you don't speak in. It doesn't make you look cool. It just makes you look stupid.

New Delhi

Tarana Khan said...

@Abdusalaam al-Hindi: Good to hear that you share these thoughts! We're getting bigger!

Lipika said...

True..."okies, byes" etc etc irritates me to no end. It seems people are trying their level best to spoil the language in a bid to act cool. I mean okies is in no way easier to pronounce or write. Its just bad English!!!

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