Goodbye English: Hello New Speak

How to Become a Published Writer

I proudly present my latest creative writing article, or “hub”, entitled “I write, therefore I am a writer”, which I respectfully request be entered in the fifty-five word creative writing competition. Here it is, exactly fifty-five words:

“Wot mee du lyke iz rytin cos dats wot mee duz wen mee aynt got nottin els to do. So I iz a ryter den, innit? Me liykes to rite abowt wot mee duz an sumtymes wot mee duz not do, its orl in de mynd anee way, innit? Lyke, ya no wot I meen?

Do you like it? Do you think I’ll win first prize; make lots of money? You don’t? Why? Is there something wrong with it? Well it doesn’t really matter anyway. I am still a writer, because I mean, I wrote that didn’t I?

In fact, having posted this little beauty on Hubpages or one of the legions of competitor web sites, I could, if I really wanted to stretch the boundaries of credibility, even call myself a published writer.

You Can Make Money Writing Online

I could place links all over the internet, in my emails signatures, on Twitter, Digg, Facebook et al. I could amass hundreds of fans and twitter followers simply by becoming their fans or follower. In no time at all, my heroic fifty-five word piece could rocket through the ratings, even achieving the hallowed status of a one hundred score on Hubpages, and my fifty-five word masterpiece would be prominently displayed on web pages all over the Internet, as a shining example of my literary prowess, and with some clever marketing, even make money.

But what of the quality? Dare I mention the dreaded “Q” word here?

If the grammar is no better than that of a seven year old child; if my prose is rife with spelling mistakes; if my range of vocabulary never exceeds two hundred words, does it matter? And if my overall command of the English language is no better than a drunken Irishman at a St Patrick’s Day celebration, then that’s fine too (I’m half Irish by the way). It’s a free world, and especially a free Internet.

Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

Write whatever you like, it’s all OK. Anything goes. After all, it’s not important what you write. What matters is how much you write. Never mind the quality, feel the width. Insert some Google Adsense, Amazon or eBay advertising and you will probably make money too!.

To be able to write one hundred articles or hubs in thirty days, to be a feted member of the mutual admiration society and have trillions of fans and followers is what it’s all about. Write more and more hubs so that the owners of Hubpages can triumphantly announce that there are now 400’000, 500’000, or a million hubs in their database. Am I supposed to be impressed?

Quality of Content Does Matter

Ahem. Dare I mention the “Q” word again?

With complete disregard for quality of content, I could program my computer to write one hundred hubs in a day. Give it a subject, a good dictionary and thesaurus, a spelling and grammar checker, and set it to work; one hundred hubs, no problem. Make it two hundred if you like. No worries. Hey, my computer has just become a writer too!

Tomorrow, I will put a stethoscope around my neck, put on a white coat, perform a couple of diagnoses on unsuspecting passers-by, and hey presto, I will then be a doctor.

If I should happen to strike a few random notes on a piano, bearing a passing resemblance to perhaps “three blind mice” then I can call myself a musician.

If I can design a house using a computer program, then I am an architect, even if the house, were it ever to be constructed, were to fall down.

Incontestably, I am an artist if I can dip a paint brush in some paint and daub it onto a canvas.

If I open my mouth and some warbled sounds emerge, then that clearly makes me a singer.

Plainly, there is no limit to the number of professions to which I can lay claim, if I want to.

But here comes the rub. You are not a writer simply because you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and produce some sentences, anymore than you are an artist because you can maneuver a paint brush. So where do we place the bar? At what point do we cross over from someone who at best, has a rudimentary grasp of the language, but knows his alphabet and can string a few basic words together, and someone who is a writer?

Well, a third party being willing to pay you (no, not you pay him) to publish your work would be a start.

The ability to produce some prose that could pass muster in a grammar and spell checking program would be encouraging too; as would the use of nouns as nouns, adjectives as adjectives, and sentences which actually contain verbs and that those verbs are conjugated in the correct tense.

What disturbs me most, and indeed, what prompts me to write this article is that sadly, this is increasingly not the case. None of this seems to matter anymore; and no-one seems to care.

Introducing NewSpeak

One Internet “author” recently said that anyone who bothers to take an interest in sentences being correctly constructed and bad grammar and spelling mistakes being corrected was “being picky”. I suppose Dickens and Hemmingway were quite “picky” then?

George Orwell might have been right after all. Are we in the process of reducing the English language to a jumble of misspelled words, sentences without verbs, slang expressions and abbreviations? Is this the “new speak” that he spoke of in his novel “1984”?

Are we really witnessing the destruction of the English Language, and is the Internet and the plethora of “anything goes” literary web sites such as Hubpages serving to accelerate this demise?

Is the snowball representing the ruination of the English language already rolling down the hill and, like global warming, is it to late to stop it?

I know that I’m a grumpy old man, but surely I’m not the only one who has noticed, and to whom this matters? If I am, then we can all look forward to many more prime examples of “new speak” from “writers” of the new “anything goes” literary fraternity.

Because as they say, (and this contains exactly twenty five words, in readiness for the forthcoming twenty five word essay competition)

“Spelin en gramer duznt matte nomor. Itz not wot yu sez orrite, itz ow much yuk an saye it fur ow long meny werds, innit”?


Copyright © 2009-2013. All rights reserved.

Writing quantity v writing quality
Writing quantity v writing quality

© 2009 sannyasinman

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Comments 26 comments

maggs224 profile image

maggs224 3 years ago from Sunny Spain

I find in a quality well written Hub, that I am not aware of the grammar and spellings, just the content, I think that this proves that when you get it right no one notices.

When I read a Hub where peoples grasp of the English language is not so good, I am sometimes forced to go back to re-read a passage because I found it difficult to follow, or to decided exactly what they were trying to convey.

When I come across a spelling mistake, I find that it is almost like tripping up, it causes my eyes to stumble and stops the flow of what I am reading.

Having said all this, I know that when I left school, over fifty years ago, my spelling and grammar left a lot to be desired, I didn't know my there from my their, or my where from my were. I am not sure where I was when I had English lessons but obviously I could not have been paying much attention.

My point is I am glad that I didn't have to pass an English exam before I was allowed to post a Hub, or I am not that sure that they would have allowed me to post. There are some writers that have problems with spelling and grammar, but none the less write have written some very gripping Hubs, Hubs that I am glad that I got the opportunity to read.

I have also had the pleasure of watching people grow as they learn to correct some of their earlier mistakes. I would hate to see new talent squashed before it has a chance to grow and develop just because their writing contained mistakes.

After all I did understand every word that you wrote in this hub, oh and by the way I did enjoy the Hub yoo iz a gud ryter and I will be voting up as I leave :D

Ddraigcoch profile image

Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

A very fun read. And I also agree with Gypsy Willow that this bad mispelling is the baby of text writing. George Orwell had scary insight!

Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

This was an excellent post - with or without the humor, as I've noticed similar shortcomings and grammatical botches amid the communtiy, but only from the ones who are solely trying to make money without giving quality content a single thought. Even though they are often ridiculed, lackluster hubs still seem to relentlessly strive towards the good ol' ad revenue objective.

This reminds me, I did a hub yesterday that would compliment this one. It was titled, "How to help keep 'HubPages' an 'Authority Site'...

Check it out and feel free to drop off some comments:

Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Don't you think texting has added to this problem? We will all be writing in weird truncated sentences soon and tapping the keys with our thumbs!

abcd1111 profile image

abcd1111 6 years ago from Glen Ellyn, IL (Chicago suburb)

Cudos to you "grumpy old man!" You have humorously and concisely communicated what so needed to be said. When I joined HubPages, albeit recently, I really thought this was a place to promote writing. Good writing. Naive, I know.

There are many good writers here, but oh-too-many that fit in your category of simply being able to string together portions of the alphabet.

I would never claim to be a published author from posting here. I use the site to share my essays with friends and family and hopefully a few new "followers" along the way.

While this comment is turning into a lengthy hub on its own, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this piece!

Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 7 years ago from London

Yes, I agree with your sentiments. I also like your writing style. With this hub you've demonstrated that when something is written well it's a pleasure to read it!

And cathinfrance, you're example on the importance of punctuation made me laugh!

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

cath - you have good taste (you picked out my favourite articles to comment upon). Yes, concern with writing quality is diminishing rapidly (especially on hubpages).

I read your articles, and you also write with more emphasis on quality than quantity. (:-)

cathinfrance 7 years ago

I so so so agree. Standards, standards! We're losing them. And they matter. For legal and commercial precision, sure, but more importantly for literature, beauty, meaning, elegance....

On punctuation, there's a great example to highlight its importance in making meaning clear. What is it? - the difference between extra marital sex and extra-marital sex!

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

knell63 - thanks for your comment. Newspeak here we come . .

knell63 profile image

knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

You hit the nail on the head, great grumpy old hub, I totally agree with you. Google as well are to blame, with all their SEO, keywords, everyone trying to cram as much page rating into the text that it no longer makes any sense. With people offering $1 for 500 words it is ever likely the quality will go down at that rate who is going to think about the words on the paper.

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

bsc - thanks for your comment. I read your hubs, and you have a great sense of humour. Priceless!

beefsteakcharlies profile image

beefsteakcharlies 7 years ago

Very well said. On a website which has reading and writing as its core purpose it is essential that we sez stuff in da rite wey innit. God forbid a website full of text speak, although theres something quite amusing about the idea of a website based on predictive text

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

myownworld - thank you for the comment. Shall we start a 2055 word competition?

myownworld profile image

myownworld 7 years ago from uk

I love the way you write: straightforward, clear, with just the right touch of humor! really enjoyed reading...yet another topic I'm 'sensitive' about! (now don't get me started again) anyway, thank you for sharing!

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

Thanks CW. So glad that you liked it.

Carol the Writer profile image

Carol the Writer 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Very funny and too true. Great article. - Carol

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

FP - yes, and it doesn't seem to matter to enough people nowadays to be able to stop the snowball from increasing in momentum and size. Soon, we'll all have to write like that. Ugh!

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

The Internet has made writers...nay, published writers of everyone! Unfortunately, the lack of censorship or an editor wielding a mighty blue pen means that all kinds of stuff is out there. People of the old school just have to suffer NewSpeak in silence - I'm one of them and I find I am constantly gritting my teeth at what passes for language these days.

stars439 profile image

stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

I am a writer too. I am a Gardener, a cook, sometimes I am smart. Often I am bad at punctuation and spelling. I play the guitar, banjo, paint, draw, and I am an Archer.

I think a lot of people are everything these days. I am glad I am not a convict or a user of dangerous drugs that are considered criminal. Great Aricle. It makes us think. Thinking is good exercise. Someone should invent mental pushups. I could use six pack abs , but not six pack brains. MORE BRAINS! Remember the Night of the Living Dead. I WANT MORE BRAINS. SEND MORE COPS! SEND MORE PARAMEDICS! I WANT MORE BRAINS!

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

Thanks all for your comments. Does this mean that I am not the only grumpy old man on Hubpages?

iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 7 years ago from Sunny California

Great Hub. Thought provoking and, as a new writer something I have observed with concern.

My spiel chequer dozen help neither.

itakins profile image

itakins 7 years ago from Irl

Hear Hear!Great hub.

mmiliiona profile image

mmiliiona 7 years ago from LONDON

You have a point there. Quality matters a lot more than most writers think nowadays.

Carlos Pueblo 7 years ago

I agree, there is too much rubbish posted on the Internet.

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

Hi Naseeb,

Thank you for your comment, from one "picky" person to another.

Naseeb Dajani 7 years ago

Very true! Let us save the English language by being picky!!

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