IMing is Killing the Language

Ever wonder what would happen if vowels vanished from the English language? It’s already happened, on computers and mobile devices around the world.

These days, you don’t need vowels as long as whoever you’re IMing or TEXTing knows the abbreviations you’re using. To the trained eye, English can resemble Hebrew. Now, you can make the argument that the ancient Hebrews got along all right without vowels, but they were used to it. Modern English speakers are not, at least not yet. But give it a few more years and vowel-less language will be all the rage.

Why? It used to be that text message providers charged by the line of text or even the word, much like telegraphers used to do. That was the basis of the shorthand, at least. But now, it is a product of users’ laziness, impatience, lack of time, spelling incompetence, and a host of other reasons. Bottom line: Communication is changing for the worse.

An example: LOL means Laugh Out Loud. That’s all well and good, as long as everyone who views it already knows what it means. If you type LOL and the person with whom you are chatting or messaging has never seen LOL before, then you will have to waste a message telling them what it means; in that case, you will have to type Laugh Out Loud anyway and you will be spending time that you could otherwise be spending typing the next message in the conversation.

LOL is a common thing these days, as are text shortcuts for smiley faces like 🙂 and :-). But what about IMHO? That’s one of the more exclusive abbreviations that you have to have seen in order to understand. Even when considering the context of IMHO, you will have a difficult working out that it means In My Humble Opinion.

Now, LOL and IMHO have vowels, so they are not the kind of vowel-less language referenced above. They are, however, examples of language shortcuts created for electronic communication that are lacking vowels. BRB stands for Be Right Back. PLZ stands for Please. Perhaps the ultimate vowel-less abbreviation is PPL. Know that that one means? People! Why not just type people? You’re halfway there already. The same goes for PROLLY. That is short for Probably. Again, why not just type a couple more letters?

Call it laziness, call it impatience, call it what you will-this kind of communication is as bad for the education of adults and children alike as the deliberate misspelling of words in hip-hop and rock songs. Electronic communication is all well and good, as long as the communication doesn’t get lost in the electronic.

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