Our generation seems rather too keen on shortening words. And I’m defs a culprit. I’d like to blame it on texting, BBMing and MSN (although tbh, MSN is totes last year). We seem to have become lazier and lazier about those extra few letters on the end of a word which could cost us a few more seconds worth of typing – seconds we’d rather spend watching quality TV or facebook stalking. And I mean quality. I suppose text slang and phrases akin to LOL are acceptable in their appropriate contexts, but it seems that LOL, ROFL and TBH are creeping into everyday chat, debasing conversation and destroying essential grammar principles. No-one now knows (#alliteration) the difference between your and you’re because it’s been replaced with “ur”. Although, I’d rather “ur amazing” than “your amazing” – there’s obvs a difference between poor grammar and cutting the ends off words. “Blates amaze” and “totes brills” substitute “that was absolutely fantastic” and nagging parents get pissy when their children adopt this form of literacy which is incomprehensible in their eyes.
And then you bombard them with made-up words which just roll off the tongue because for some reason they just work. “The DJ last night was totes amazeballs.” The origin of this word is a little flaky, but I assure you it’s a real word….at least, I repeatedly hear it uttered from the lips of teenagers and young adults who spend far too much of their time watching Skins. I also find myself adding the word “age” onto everything: “Cooliage”, “awesomeage”, “wowage”. This new gap filler vilifies the English language with its sarcy overtones – see, I can’t even say the word sarcastic now without removing two syllables and adding a y. And then instead of “I’m going to the beach”, there’s a temptation to turn beach into a verb: “I’m beaching it this afternoon”. Facebook too has turned into a verb, along with MSN and BBM because we consistently need to find a verb counterpart to describe the action of using them. Although I do congratulate Twitter on “tweeting” – “twittering” would be a bit of a mouthful. Forget about freedom of speech and the individual voice – we are in fact creating a new, superimposed language to complement our lives which are so critically linked to technology, speed and functionality.
I just read that Collins Dictionary are currently hosting a competition where they give out daily prizes to individuals who come up with new words for their ever-increasing database. If successful, your word gets published on collinsdictionary.com and hey presto, you’re practically famous. Dialogue today is essentially a combination of different British dialects to reflect new ideas, feelings or thoughts stemming from an inherent desire to pioneer how we view and relate to things around us.
If we’re this bad in England, I only dread to think what it’ll be like in Paris!
Watch this space.