More often than not, it is the simplest of comforts that radically transform into the most shocking of trends. Prehistoric cavemen fashioned the first wheel from stone. This simple creation set the stage for the modern day automobile as well as 90% of today’s technological advancement! Nowadays we have witnessed a great tragedy.
It started off quite innocently in the 90s, and as time and tech progressed, it too took on a new form that plagues all written media, with people unable to flick the off switch and return to normal.
What is this modern-day malady that plagues the teens of today and the youths of tomorrow you ask? It is the negative phenomena known as Text Speak, the annoying jargon that the new generation use to communicate amongst themselves as if speaking in code. They abbreviate words by slashing out their most crucial elements, you became u, your (and you’re) became ur, wait became w8 and good became gd, all in an effort to save their precious digits and opposable thumbs from moving slightly more in all directions.
At first it appeared to be a trend of Generation Next, too busy to type properly, their brains too condensed with information to remember such a trivial thing as the alphabet, condemning vowels to an abrupt dismissal from their lexicons, and forcing other letters to undergo forced transformation to numeric, adding further confusion to those already struggling with algebra and Roman Numerals.
Sadly however, they are not to blame, for in truth they are victims as well. It is with immense sadness and a heavy heart that I step up to the plate and take ownership of the fact that today’s generation has been permanently maimed by the comforts of their predecessors, ourselves!
Where did we go wrong, you wonder? How did we throw a curveball at the English language in the 90s, forever altering the course of human history? The answer is simple – SMS.
Short Message Service is the ability to say what you want in 160 characters or less, a.k.a. the original Tweet. Initially, SMS’s were meant to quickly inform the caller that the receiver was busy and would call back later. Pretty soon SMS replaced calls as the means of communication for our generation. Thus began our isolation as SMS sufficed for everything from greetings and wedding invitations to break ups. This was in the days prior to WhatsApp and mobile internet, whereas nowadays you can send an entire essay in the blink of an eye and with no impact on your expenditure whatsoever, back then the more you texted the less characters you got at the same price (remember the truncated messages?). From there, we began to abbreviate with reckless abandon! Words butchered to mere shades of their former selves, barely recognizable but instantly understandable by our cohorts. Generation Next grew up not understanding the reason behind the abbreviation, and took it to be the next step in literary evolution, further slashing our already slashed vocabulary to an even more unrecognizable form of gobbledygook.
There once was a science experiment with 5 monkeys in a cage and a banana on a ladder, every time a monkey would climb the ladder both, they and their friends below, would get doused with water, to the point where the others would prevent anyone from climbing by beating them senseless. One by one the monkeys were replaced, and the tradition was followed by those who did not understand why. The new generations are now those wet, miserable and definitely hungry monkeys!
Thus we brought about the demise of the English language. Where will technological breakthroughs take us next? Much like the big framed glasses and bell pants are making a comeback, pretty soon we will once again return to how our ancestors used to communicate. We send videos to each other and revert to grunts and shrugs, because using words is just too mainstream and very taxing on the tongue, which is now upgraded to properly differentiate all 34 ice cream flavors of the future.