I agree the language evolves or else we still would have been using Victorian or even Elizabethan (the first) English, but how fast and how drastically!! Being a language student, I like to monitor changes in the language and keeping abreast with them. I think I have done a pretty good job in picking up words such as cool (although I can’t bring myself to use the cooler spelling ‘kewl’), chill, dude (what is the feminine version for it –dudess? dudy?), man (spelt as mahn), and many more, including the phrases such as ‘Wassup? Betcha. Gotcha (first introduced to me as Gotcha Gopher), etc. I guess the people of our generation have done maximum adjustments with the language.
When we were in the school, computers were just introduced in India and we did not have any subject such as Information and communication technology. We were supposed to write letters the conventional way with the sender’s address and date on the right while subject and salutation on the left and finally ending the letter with a signature ‘yours faithfully’ or ‘sincerely’. The teachers always encouraged the wide use of vocabulary and of course, the grammar was sacred. Nobody messed with the grammar. When we started sending mails in the ninties we still wrote them in the same fashion slowly veering towards informal type and yes, soon we abandoned the left and right pattern of address and greeting. Dear someone was quickly replaced by hi and later by hey.
As mobile phone became an integral part of our life, we adjusted to texting language. Before we realized you became ‘u’ and are became ‘r’. We accepted the fact that the texting language was easy on fingertips and wallet both. Later this developed into its own category. We watched with amazement as the younger generation created its own alpha numeric script such as Gr8, b4, 2nite. People like me, still stuck to minor abbreviations while many others became adept at it. Whole sentences in texting language! Cool! I, personally find it too taxing for my brain to think of short forms while it is easy to use the language used for ages and taught in the school.
With the introduction of social networking sites, this transformation of the language reached yet another level and we found ourselves writing lol, rofl, lmao, tnx, g m, g n, btw, asap. Yeah, we mastered it because ours is the original generation of short forms, remember QSQT (Qayamat se Qayamat tak) and DDLJ ( Dilwale Dulhaniye le jayenge) came much before OSO and TDP. It was not tough for my generation. Yes what with a tadka of American English. More hep and hence appealing than the Queen’s language. With the huge number of desi population and more people trafficking between India and the US, it was also more familiar and user friendly. Why not a dog house than a kennel? We also accepted a battery dying although being an inanimate object. We have started saying anyways and one time than the grammatically more accurate anyway and once. I, also going with the flow, adapted myself to changing trends till my son’s simple comment woke me up with a jolt.
It so happened, equipped with my improved vocabulary I wrote a piece which had a conversation among teenagers. I liberally interspersed it with this new lingo and when the teenager of the house, my son, came home, I handed it over to him for his approval. He flipped through it, while I sat in front of him with bated breath for his verdict. “Its ok, mom. It is just that we don’t use some of the words you have mentioned,” he said returning my pages back to me. I wanted to know where I had gone wrong. “Mom, for example we don’t use the word acclimatize and also not strenuous.” “Then what do you say when a person is trying to get adjusted to the new climate?” I demanded. “Oh mom, we simply say he was getting used to the climate. We just use simple words. No tough words. Whoever uses strenuous? We may say it was too tiring.” I nodded. “Point noted son,” I said in my mind.
Was I offended? No. It brought back a memory when I was my son’s age or probably little older when I came across an elderly family member drafting a letter. He proudly held out the letter for me in order to teach me a thing or two about letter writing. I burst out laughing ( in my mind again) at the very first line. “Uncle, whoever writes in these days like “ hope this letter reaches you in pink of health.” Pink? Health? It is outdated. And “some points for your perusal.” Perusal? Hope that person knows the meaning of it.” That wise man merely said that I needed to get acquainted with the language used in the official correspondence. I breezily walked out saying that I doubt whether I would ever need to use this terminology. The carelessly uttered words have come true in the long run and that alarms me. If what my son said comes into reality then perhaps a couple of decades down the line our dictionary will shrink sizably. Most of the adjectives would be replaced by nice (can be spelt as naiceee, niceeeee or niseeee),awesome or just aww (add as many w’s).
Alarmed I may be, but still definitely it will not make me turn my back toward this new language. A change in a language is a sign of it being alive and reflecting the socio economic changes in the society. If it stops growing, it will get stagnant, hence not suitable for use. I have, in fact, got used to this texting and social networking language, till I came across a new hybrid language that has recently sprouted. Wonder in which category it falls into. It is not a texting language inspired from the thought of mere convenience (rather than punching long words onto the tiny keys of a mobile phone simply trim them ) or abbreviated phrases of social networking sites. It is more like an illegitimate child on rebel against the system. Just distorting every single normal word, flouting every rule in the grammar, like a weed slowly invading the entire field if not uprooted. Let me give you an example of this so called stylish language…. “ Meh an mah broada had a dinnah At a suppa Sexxxxy restah…was Yummmmz…kudoz to d Broada and sista .” This is one of the many statuses I came across with. It really baffles me. Why capital letters in the middle of a sentence? Why not bro instead of a broada or sis instead of a sista? Either letters are added to the words eg. offf or omitted like hav or hom. I sincerely hope that this particular segment of English language, if I may say so, will not last long and die its natural death. Can we do anything more than hoping?
Till then we continue wid d new lingo. Ta ta. Bye bye. C ya soon. Tc & lotsa luv. Muaaaah. XXXXXXXOOOO
Btw Happy Navratri. Njoy. Hehehe………