- Books, Literature, and Writing
S.O.S: Save Our Sentence
Is Text Messaging Killing the English Language?
"Oh, the horror!" This exclamation is said by thousands of teachers (present company included) each day as they are faced with the daunting task of grading essays, compositions, and (gasp) research papers. The vile action that provokes such an utterance is the use of text messaging symbols and abbreviations in a formal paper.
The current world is a breeding ground for abbreviation. Technology affords society with the opportunity to skip steps and take shortcuts. The end result is that the English vocabulary has been reduced to staccato -like sentences that resemble some sort of military code.
At this time, I want to make a confession. I am one of the few people in this world who does not text. There, I said it. I know how to text; I just choose not to text. I do not have anything against text messaging because it has its purpose and its place. The purpose and place for text messaging, however, is not in a formal piece of written communication. At this time, I propose that a campaign be started to save the sentence.
Language is defined as a set of symbols that has meaning. Language is also subject to change as it is passed down from generation to generation. Therefore, it seems that we are one or maybe two generations away from a text-only language. To further illustrate the gravity of the issue, think about the impact text messaging is having on the communication process as a whole; think about the effect of text messaging on the writer's overall credibility; and think about the fact that text messaging actually belittles the value of the overall message to the writer.
In order to say that communication has taken place, the message must be sent; the message must be received; and the message must be understood. What happens if the message is not understood? Effective communication has not transpired. A text-riddled sentence is difficult for the reader to understand. A standard communication rule states that the sender must write with the reader in mind. This rule means that the sender or writer of the message should care enough about his or her reader to think about the person's needs. What if the reader is not familiar with the text messaging process? Has effective communication occurred? I think not.
The appearance of a message speaks volumes about the writer, and a well-crafted message garners respect from the reader. Taking the time to research, revise, and edit adds to the overall credibility of the message thus adding to the credibility of the writer. Writers write with respect as their intention. Every author desires accolades and positive feedback for their efforts. The positive comments will not flow if the document is peppered with text abbreviations.
Finally, a poorly drafted message full of abbreviations and grammatical shortcuts reflects a writer that is too lazy to care about his or her work. If you do not care about your work then why should the reader care? When the writer takes shortcuts, he or she is basically telling the world that the message is of no value. Therefore, if the message has value, take the time to revise and edit.
The time has come to save the sentence. Set an example for the younger generation by encouraging our nation's children to use their language skills. Monitor your children's written assignments to ensure that adequate proofreading and editing are taking place. Watch your own documents to ensure that sloppiness is not an issue. Ladies and gentlemen, the English language can be saved. The future is literally and figuratively in our hands.