English language, will it survive?
April 5, 2008 9:46am CST
Hi friends, i was reading this article and it really got me thinking. Is the English language dying? Is SMS language taking over? Have a look at it and share your views WHILE READING a classic novel, do you put it down a million times to reach for the dictionary? Well, maybe the next generation will feel the same way about 19th Century literature. And we might well be the Tennysons and Dumases of tomorrow. SMS seems to be the all-encompassing solution when you want to let your friend know you'll be an hour late, have to remind your son to buy the atta on his way home, or want to convey a little love message during class without the risk of being caught passing chits. For most people with cell phones, SMS is a fantastic way to communicate. Subodh, an advertising professional, says: "It allows you to get to the point without having to call up and go through the hello-how-are-you small talk." But why must words be shortened, vowels dropped, and hyphens bid adieu to? `SMS costs money' "Just because I have a cell doesn't mean I'm a rich dude," says Suguna. "SMS costs money and if I can tell all in 200 short words and 30 paise, it's stupid to send five messages just to guard grammar." Neema, an NGO worker, says: "We try to squeeze in as much information as possible in one message, so words do get scrunched up." Neema admits that she was initially enraged at what she used to call "the crippling of English". But as is known to happen very often, in her case too, functionality won over aesthetics. Saw it coming Devika Chandran, a teacher at a well-known school in the city, says that SMS and e-mail language have even percolated into school assignments. But she says she saw this coming a long time ago: "When we chose to put the triangular dots to represent `therefore' after proving a maths theorem, and when we wrote `No.' instead of `number', it was a sign. Words do get shortened due to high usage. What's wrong in that?" Abhishek D'Nazareth, a college Physics professor says that science has used symbols and acronyms for years, and "it's not like science has regressed because of it". Most of us SMSers also sweep out the conjunctions and sentence connectors in our messages. So something like this — movie at 1230? my chair crookd. u hv my cd. pls return — is not the spewing of a person with an acutely low attention span, but a way to say it all in one go. Naveen Halemane, who's doing a doctoral thesis on a linguistic approach to e-English, thinks that these `deviations' must not be considered mistakes. "They might be grammatically wrong now, but who's to say language cannot be dynamic?" he argues. But as a new digitally literate class is taking away the power to shape and define language from the likes of teachers and newspaper editors, one wonders if we should absorb `brb's and `gnite's into the English language. Language and the lexicon are evolving so rapidly that whenever a new word is encountered, one will have to Ask Jeeves or check with Google to be sure that it is not an ad hoc fabrication. But now, the ever useful (and comforting to many) Concise Oxford English dictionary has included `GR8', `emoticon', `RUOK', and so on in its newer editions. David Crystal, in his book Language and the Internet, dismisses the common view that online communication (he calls it Netspeak) is illiterate and dumbs down language. Much of it is non-standard, playful, phonetic, tolerant of typographic and spelling errors, and full of new words. But he is fascinated by its evolving character, variety, and innovation. He says that it "is a linguistic singularity — a genuine new medium". Interestingly, the strongly defended SMS language is consciously avoided in messages to prospective employers, new clients, and even grandfathers. "You never know when you'll bump into a language crusader!" warns Suguna. So is it a language of familiarity? Neema responds: "Exactly! And the worries of SMS language widening the generation gap are ridiculous. Just throw rigidity out of the window and join in.
5 Apr 08
i do not think so,becuase even SMS IS useful and convient ,but the language such as englsih and chinese cann't be resteaded,in my college,every studnt use cellphone,and some guy want to make girlfriends always use this way.just send a sms or message to her if he knew her telephone number. so i don't think that the sms's anew will end the laguage of english.