A while back I saw a news piece (I think it was a slow news day) on what the Internet might be doing to the English language. There were people claiming that kiddie speak and language shortcuts would stay within the Internet culture, people in a near panic because it was going to “destroy” the English language as we know it, and people who were indifferent, because, after all, language is not static; it’s a fluid thing and will change over time. We might as well accept it.

It’s definitely doing something; enter example visible to the left. This is a short snippet of a piece I received a year or so ago as a submission for publication. One hundred and fifty pages of an IM conversation; I found the idea endearing and the back story decent…but I couldn’t read it all. A person’s eyes can only take so much of a CoNsTaNt StReAm oF ThIs.

And my brain just can’t wrap around “u no it d00d!” and “oh u r so nt l33t.”

The story was good, it could have been very good if the author had chosen to minimize the shortcut language. He refused, however, because “this is how kids speak to one another, and they understand this.”

I get that. There’s no reason for kids to change the way they communicate online simply because the older part of the population doesn’t like it. Adults don’t need to understand it any more than our parents needed to understand our teenage slang. Colloquialisms exist for a reason—it’s supposed to give anyone over 35 a headache; we’re not suppose to read their IMs and email conversations.

But an entire book?
Is the world ready for that?
Should we ever be ready for that?

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