May 19, 2010

Bad, bad English!

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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.