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Rage, rage against the dying of the light - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Rage, rage against the dying of the light [Aug. 30th, 2009|09:58 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |distresseddistressed]

There may be something to this notion that the internet is destroying the ability of a generation to form complete sentences. I am on a group at Good Reads entitled "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die." The books on the list focus heavily on classics, though there are many recent books - the ones you find in the bookstore under "Literature" rather than "Fiction" - and the discussions tend to remind me of upper division lit classes in college - lots of pointing out foreshadowing and symbolism.

So I was a little confused when the discussion feed included these three messages, in quick succession:

hey every1, im new...so..

ppl should definalty read the time travelers wife

i just finished the awakening it is a really depressing book, im oging through an after shock right now


My first reaction - after "are you fuckin' kidding me?" - was "troll." But that didn't seem fair. After all, it couldn't be someone trying to flash-recommend books from the same author or publishing company. And there was nothing inflammatory in the text.

Could it be that someone who actually reads books considers internet communication of such sloppy formation to be acceptable? Is my own insistence on complete sentences, appropriate spelling, and capitalization and punctuation - and "webspeak" as a tool only to be used sarcastically - simply an outmoded personal quirk? Am I becoming the Amish of the internet?

If so, then I quiver in fear for the future of the written language. If this passes for discussion now, how long until we see it in publication?

Fear! Fear the death of the written language! And fight back!
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[User Picture]From: zianuray
2009-08-30 02:03 pm (UTC)
"Literatire" Typo?

I agree that the posts you refer to are shocking (and downright depressing!) in their lack of regard for proper grammar. I doubt that the person got anything from the books except bragging rights and something to dust.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-30 02:11 pm (UTC)
It's inevitable that in a post about such things, one makes a cock-up. LOL

I wonder, though. It may be that there is more read understanding than written communication. Which is almost more scary....
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From: sharpchick
2009-08-30 02:21 pm (UTC)
I started getting business emails at work from one of my team members written in chat-ese...

After about three of them, which were simply informational and to which I did not respond, she sent another asking me a question, where she used u, ur, 4, and 2 in the same message.

I went down the hall, knocked on her door, and stuck my head in to tell her to close the IM box, because she obviously was confusing work with play, and we just can't have that. I also asked her if she wanted to trade her annual conference attendance for a grammar and spelling class.

I don't even text in chat.
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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2009-08-30 02:34 pm (UTC)
I don't text in chat, and rarely respond to comments/emails that are written in chat. I wish I had the power to tell the people from work what you told your team member, but the one that's worst about using text speak is my boss.

This is made worse by the fact that we are a transcription company. It makes my head spin when I get an email from my boss asking "ur on, rite?" Does she transcribe records like that?
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[User Picture]From: terriaminute
2009-08-30 03:00 pm (UTC)
The context in which the comments you quoted originated is what is most disturbing to me. I can't imagine using the chat shorthand to comment on literature of any sort, and it hurts my head to know that others do it. These two things do not go together. One of these things just doesn't belong.

Chat is only really acceptable when you're typing with your thumbs. (I don't text, and in IM I only use phrase shorthand like brb for be right back - because when I need to tell my friend that, I'm usually in a hurry.

(I just sent an email to a friend who'd requested help with a tee shirt design. She consistently uses "anymore" for objects rather than for time specifically, so I took the opportunity to point this out to her. I am reasonably sure she will appreciate the pointer...)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-30 11:47 pm (UTC)
I am given to providing grammar hints to friends, too. They always appreciate it!

And I agree completely, except to say that I *do* text, and other than a few acceptable abbreviations (brb, lol, etc.), even in texts I use complete sentences and punctuation.
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[User Picture]From: weirman
2009-08-30 03:04 pm (UTC)
It's really scary how common an occurrence that's becoming. I hear that college teachers are seeing it more and more often in their term papers and essays.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-30 11:48 pm (UTC)
That is what really terrifies me.
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[User Picture]From: dglenn
2009-08-30 06:47 pm (UTC)

Thou hast lost Something, anyhow

ARGH ARGH ARGH! Ouch! Make the bad conjugation stop! Brain hurts! Ow! Blinking text would be less painful than this!

The younger generation butchereth the language, aye, but thou helpest not when thy attempt at Olde-Speech containeth errors so common that any sense of whether thou intendest parody or not thereby, is obscured.

The forms you used don't occur in the plural, which is why I replaced "the youth" (plural based on your use of 'their') with "the younger generation" (can be treated as singular or plural if you bend it a little). With a singular subject, you'd get "findeth" or "doth find", not "do findeth". (For a parallel using familiar forms, you'd say "he finds" or "he does find", but neither "they finds" nor "he do finds".) I'd be tempted to write "findeþ" or "doþ find", but thorns were already on their way our by the time thou seemest to be aiming at, as I recall -- I just like the fact that in HTML, I can use thorns. :-þ
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2009-08-30 03:33 pm (UTC)
I'll be Amish of the internet with you. We can make quilts. :)

This is one reason why I think Twitter is of the devil. And don't get me started on how it has begun its seepage into the world of television "news".
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2009-08-30 03:48 pm (UTC)
And don't get me started on how it has begun its seepage into the world of television "news".

Gaaah! *runs away screaming* There's little worse than having news reporters reading off twits live.
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[User Picture]From: myskat
2009-08-30 03:36 pm (UTC)
I remember cursing the death of letter writing in favor of email. This is even worse!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-30 11:54 pm (UTC)
As a terrible letter writer, email has been an excellent tool for me to keep in touch with people. But I fear you were right about it being the thin end of the wedge....
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2009-08-30 03:56 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately it seems quite common. Even among the programmers I work with, whom I consider intelligent, they can write complex case-sensitive code or compose email to external groups just fine, but if it is at all in-house they get lazy and lose the ability to use the shift key or punctuate things. Sometimes they even drift into IM speak.

It makes no sense to me. If you can construct sentences correctly you should do so.

As a counter argument, though, an opinion that texting is increasing literacy (via epi_lj). (I don't buy it because if you cannot differentiate between "your" and "you're" and simply rely on "ur", I don't think you are literate)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-30 11:57 pm (UTC)
I don't regard the two as mutually exclusive: attempting to convey written information succinctly and with impact is a different tool than grammar and punctuation, and both are important. I think that the internet may be helping the first, but it is dragging the second into an alley and beating it with a baseball bat.
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2009-08-30 03:58 pm (UTC)
Ugh. You know, I learned most of my spelling and grammar skills FROM reading, especially since they don't teach any of it in schools anymore. Seriously, the amount of college students I knew when I was in college who couldn't write a coherent essay was appalling. I usually got As and Bs with little to no effort because I was so much better than everyone else in the class. I even once wrote a 15 page research paper on music history in one night (and on into the morning, but still) and got a B+ on it. I always found that to be less an indicator of my mad skillz (how good can a paper slogged out from 11 PM to 10 AM actually be?) and more an indicator of how bad everyone else was.

I am another who doesn't use chat speak in texts or even in places like Twitter or Facebook. Only sarcastically, and even then sparingly.

I actually think a lot of adults who use chat speak do it because they think that kids are using it, so they want to appear young and hip. Case in point, several years ago I heard a story about a 14 year old girl who used chat speak, until she met another 14 year old girl online who didn't. A bit of a spam fest ensued, but eventually Girl A was convinced that no, most intelligent people DON'T use chat speak on the internet (which was her prevailing argument for using it, as she was otherwise a very bright girl). This misconception is common for those who only use the internet for things like email or chatting, and all but non-existent with those of us who spend lots of time on blog sites like LJ.

There's also the fact that some people actually are that bad at spelling and grammar. x.x
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[User Picture]From: dglenn
2009-08-30 07:25 pm (UTC)
I wonder whether a few still do it out of frustration with a low typing speed, as well. (I'm a smidgen more likely to abbreviate that way when I'm tired and in pain and not in a good typing position (i.e. lying on my side in bed, typing one-handed[*]).) Back when I used to use chat apps that showed keystrokes rather than completed lines (Unix: xtalk/ytalk, VMS: phone), I got to see just how slowly many other people typed. While most of the folks I chatted with did spell things out, it took so long that using chat-speak shorthand would've made sense. (My figuring out where their question or statement was headed and replying before they'd finished typing was probably obnoxious, but waiting thirty seconds or so for them to get the last few words out was just too much. I could read a whole paragraph of email on another monitor in the time it took some people to type three characters. I could type a whole paragraph of response in the time it took them to finish the last four words of a question.) Chatting with another touch-typist in those days was a refreshing change -- fortunately one of my friends from those days types approximately as quickly as I do (not sure which of us is faster -- probably him), but with a lot of other people, it probably would've been less irritating if they had used a chat shorthand.

This is hidden in chat systems that present an entire message at once, rather than a character at a time.

At the time, my typing speed was remarkably fast and a lot of people using computers didn't touch-type at all. Is this still how things are nowadays, or does pretty much everybody now learn to type quickly enough to not have a good excuse for not writing things out? I would prefer for it to turn out that decent typing skills are commonplace by now, but I've got absolutely no clue whether that's the case.

[*] As opposed to typing in the same position when I'm not extra-tired and my hand mostly works, at which times I'm not as fast as I used to be two-handed on a good keyboard in a proper position (I really need to turn the office back into an office so I can type like that again) but can still keep up with most people.
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[User Picture]From: hyrkanian
2009-08-30 04:13 pm (UTC)
I don't text, and I have no patience for text-speak/chat speak/whatever it's called. I use smileys out of pre-internet habit, from penpal days when they were used in (hand) written letters, but never in formal writing. I occasionally use lolcat speak for laughs, but I think I make it quite clear that it is for laughs and not serious.

I'll join your Amish group, I'll do embroidery and knitting and crochet while we snark on the bad grammar of the internet. To be even more antiquated, I plan to start spinning and making my own yarn in the near future, so add that to the repertoire as well.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-31 12:04 am (UTC)
I *do* text, and I don't substitute poor grammar and spelling. There's no excuse for it.

Our Amish enclave will be quite lovely. Many artists and artisans.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2009-08-30 04:48 pm (UTC)
i dont capitalize for the most part...because i broke my right hand/wrist a few years back and it didnt heal correctly. i cant feel the last two fingers and typing can get sorta iffy at times. i cant find that shift key so i just skip it entirely.

i *do* try very hard to spell everything correctly, and dont use "IM speak shortcuts" even with IM's. and bless him, my 16 year old son doesnt either. he says his friends tease him and he says "yeah, but what did YOU get on the last english test? i got 100%." ;)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-31 12:07 am (UTC)
Good for your son!
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[User Picture]From: blergeatkitty
2009-08-30 04:50 pm (UTC)
I believe that chat speak is only okay if you're Prince.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-31 03:06 am (UTC)
Agreed, but only because he doesn't chat with me. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: scarfman
2009-08-30 04:51 pm (UTC)

I will rarely use a smiley, when it's genuinely the best way to articulate what I want to say. I anticipate a possibility of getting peer-pressured into Twitter, as I was onto LJ, and I will then, when and if necessary, resort to the conventions of the medium in order to come in under the 140-character mark. Otherwise, I'll spell what I mean correctly, to the best of my ability.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-08-31 12:10 am (UTC)
I do use smileys to make sarcasm clear. But sentence structure is important.
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[User Picture]From: tristanter
2009-08-30 05:24 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. I rarely allow myself to even abbreviate in text messages.
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