Monday, April 18, 2011

Sms Lingo-Y V Use it??

How often have you come across something like “c ya @ 8 2n8…” or maybe “srry…cudnt cum bcz of odr wrk!!!” . Chances are that you would have come across these new spellings quite often. While purists are out with swords, slamming it no end, sms lingo, the so-called language of the youth, is here to stay. I am not an authority on the subject, and hence would refrain from commenting on its effect on the language as a whole, but I surely would like to check out the reasons behind it. Common knowledge says that young people tend to shorten words because 1. Typing on cellphones is a pain, with each key needing multiple taps for a required character. 2. To lessen the no. of characters used, because most operators charge for smses on the basis of the number of characters sent. But then, how can we explain a simple “yes” being transformed to “yep”, “yeah”, “yah”, “yepp” and what not…similarly, the poor old “ok” metamorphoses to “ohk”, “okk”, “kk” or even “okkies”. All these new-coined words save nothing on the number of characters, nor on the keystrokes needed. So then why do we use them?
A point that comes to my mind in this regards is a statement made by my kid sister some time ago.  When I asked her the reason why she used “ohkk” everytime  instead of “ok”, her reply was that writing a plain “ok” showed lack of feelings on the sender’s part. What an explanation! I believe one of the primary reasons for people adopting this new lingo is to appear up to date. Using lots of abbreviations and “sms-words” makes one look cool and adds that extra zing to the dull and boring message. It’s the same phenomenon that made people ditch old Victorian English for the modern British English, which again was ditched for the American variety. Now it’s the turn of the “sms” variety,  if it can be called so, to ditch the American one …
The phenomenon at work here is very similar to the peer pressure factor at work among children and teenagers. If you don’t sms, you are living in medieval times, and if you write full words in a sms, you are so out of sync with the times. The evident spillover effect of this is the modification of words over time, nowadays, it’s okay to write “u” instead of “you”, or “b” instead of “be” even in semi-formal situations. Good or bad, I am no one to say, but this surely is keeping the purists on their toes.

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