WTF, LOL, STFU, and all that other stuff

DA FRE INTERN3T IS ON TEH V3RGA OF DESTRUCTION AND SO IS DA ENGLISH LANGUAEG!!11111 WTF LOL I DONT T3XT M3SAEG I DONT INSTANT MESAEG AND I DONT UNDERSTAND DA ABR3VIAETD FORMS USED IN SUCH11!!11 OMG LOL AND I REFUS3 2 L3ARN!!1111
The above is a translation of the following, according to “the aol translator.”
The free Internet is on the verge of destruction, and so is the English language. I don’t text message, I don’t instant message, and I don’t understand the abbreviated forms used in such. And I refuse to learn.
After reading this article in the online edition of the Chicago Maroon (thanks to b!X for the link, even though I know he disagrees with my position on language), I decided to try and find out just how out of touch I was with the netlingo.
While plenty of commenters disagreed with the Maroon piece, I’m not one of them. I particularly appreciate this part of the article:
Language is precious, and being able to express oneself through writing, even in something as apparently trivial as an e-mail, is vital. AOL-speak strips all the beauty and nuance out of written language, converting it to a means rather than its own end, shifting the emphasis from quality of self-expression and communication to sheer speed, efficiency, and volume of dispatches. Personal communication used to mean something; people took time in the composition of correspondence and invested something of themselves in it. Now, however, cookie-cutter abbreviations have overrun the realm of language, leaving it a bleak, monosyllabic wasteland.
Of course I agree with that quote. I was, after all and English major and and English teacher. Although, in actuality, I really don’t care if netspeak is used when and where appropriate, as long as schools continue to teach the English language at its more eloquent. Back in October of 2004, I posted something related to Ebonics as a result of the more than two dozen comments I got on a post I made on a totally different subject.
I guess there’s something about me that just doesn’t like lazy language. (Obviously I DO like alliteration.)
Some interesting quotes about “language:”
Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs. — Jack Lynch
We learn what we have said from those who listen to our speaking. — Kenneth Patton
The quality of our thoughts is bordered on all sides by our facility with language. — J. Michael Straczynski:
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow. — Oliver Wendell Holmes
Language is the dress of thought. — Samuel Johnson
A different language is a different vision of life. — Federico Fellini

2 thoughts on “WTF, LOL, STFU, and all that other stuff

  1. Oh, dear. They’re whining over JARGON again. Leetspeak is no different than acronyms or the jargon of any corporate industry one would care to name, and it no more degrades the English language than those usages do. It’s a shorthand, used in very specific circumstances. If more people understood about the constant evolution of language and grammar, there’d be far less bitching of this sort.

  2. I wonder if people really believe, for example, that people who use such abbreviations and whatnot are also using them constantly offline. I also wonder if people might not want to consider this just another offshoot or variant of English rather than just a bastardization or a weed in the garden of language.
    By all means, let’s focus on how bad bad bad it is that different forums of communication or different subcultures are “bastardizing” the English language rather than focus on the fact that more people — including kids — are COMMUNICATING to more people, and more often, than ever before in the history of the world.
    Not to mention that there’s another angle (although by no means the only one): SOme of this is no different than kids speaking in pig latin or ubby dubby in order to avoid adults knowing WTF they are talking about.

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