Sdtrk: ‘Albion Festival report’ by The focus group
I have absolutely nothing polite to say about this. Nothing whatsoever.
Mobile texts harm written language?
Reuters | Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:28 AM ET
DUBLIN (Reuters) – The rising popularity of text messaging on mobile phones poses a threat to writing standards among Irish schoolchildren, an education commission says.
The frequency of errors in grammar and punctuation has become a serious concern, the State Examination Commission said in a report after reviewing last year’s exam performance by 15-year-olds.
“The emergence of the mobile phone and the rise of text messaging as a popular means of communication would appear to have impacted on standards of writing as evidenced in the responses of candidates,” the report said, according to Wednesday’s Irish Times.
“Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing.”
The report laments that, in many cases, candidates seemed “unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary.”
In 2003, Irish 15-year-olds were among the top 10 performers in an international league table of literacy standards compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Call me old-fashioned, or call me anal-retentive, but honestly, I think people in this day and age not having proper writing skills is embarrassing and shameful. Yes, I realise that language evolves through time for ‘better’ usage — arguably what comprises contemporary English is much less brain-destroying than say, Middle English — but these days I’m inclined to think that ‘better’ in the context of 21st Century society really means ‘lazier’.
My friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios once argued that if the person who receives your message can parse what you’re essentially saying, despite any misspellings or grammar explosions, then that’s really the most important thing. Sure, I’ll grant him that, but I firmly believe that proper spelling should be encouraged. There are many people out there, myself included, who will almost entirely disregard an article, a blog entry, a post, or what have you if it’s typed ham-handedly. There may be an important message cleverly hidden within, but it’s as if the reader is being given a diamond ring cleverly hidden within a handful of shit. Frankly, if a person can’t be arsed to take the time to spell properly, why should anyone take the time to read it?
For a lot of people (and note, that’s ‘a lot’ — ‘alot’ isn’t a word), it’s a case of they’re typing so fast, that they don’t go over what they’ve written for errors before they submit it or hit the Send button; that’s how the Interbutt standards ‘zOMG’ and ‘teh’ began, for instance. There’s absolutely no sane reason why a person can’t give what they’ve said a quick check. And ‘that takes too long’ is hardly an excuse — if your spelling and grammar is up to snuff, it won’t take more than a couple of seconds, at any rate.
And as far as limited vocabulary, that rankles me just as much, if not more. Could you imagine if writers such as Wilde, or Burgess, or Machen, or Plath, didn’t have the benefit of an expansive vocabulary? Could you picture how incredibly dull their writing would be, or any writing, speech, or dialogue, for that matter? Language should be more than just a vehicle for basic communication; at its best, it should also paint pictures. Obviously, not everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth should sound like something by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (‘Yes, my good maiden; I would desire to place an order for a burger of ham, bedecked with intertwining spirals of tomato catsup and yellowed mustard, denuded of pickles, and accompanying that I wouldst like a singular order of French fries — crisp, golden-brown shards of deeply-fried potato — in the largest size a man can request. To quench my thirst which threatens even now to vanquish me, I will also require a chilled Coca’d-Cola, in a size that lay betwixt Diminutive and Titanic’) but a larger vocabulary is, at the very least, a sign that you’re trying to elevate yourself above the grunts and snorts that pass for common language.
In summation? Read more books, I suppose