Monday, April 7, 2008

Grammar's Death. Stop.

It cracks me up when other people acknowledge how fun--well, maybe not fun, but necessary--punctuation and grammar can be. Granted, one runs the risk of over-doing it a little, but generally, I find the rules of grammar to be a bit soothing. They're the one type of formula I can remember--I never did well at Chemistry or Calculus, but to this day I can remember the Possessive Rule from Ms. Stave's 8th grade grammar class. It's a tradition, a set of rules, guidelines for everyday life that differentiate between the careful and the careless.
Now, though, grammar seems to be on its way out. I've heard the claim that it is due to text messaging and IM'ing; it is too much trouble to type out the whole word "because," so it is shortened to "b/c." ROFL is "rolling on (the) floor laughing." LMFAO is "laughing my fucking ass off." The problem, however, is that the rules aren't changing--this is just creating a sort of language gap between the educated and the not-so-educated, which will make that gap much harder to scale. Think Pygmalion, for those of you who know who the hell George Berndard Shaw is. (For those of you who don't, think Idiocracy: "Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... like... you know, like, you know what I mean, like... ")

I, for one, don't buy the claim that texting and IMing has caused this revolution; think about when the telegraph first came out. Not only did one have to pay for each letter, but one had to spell out the punctuation, as well. ("Dear Liesle stop I would like to take the time to tell you how I feel about you stop unfortunately this telegraph is already too expensive to send.") Grammar and the English language didn't wither and die; instead, it is the general laziness that has afflicted today's generations that is leading to the decomposition of the language, which will, ultimately, leave us with Dick and Jane books and erotica.
For example, I was having a conversation with a fairly well-educated young man who said he was going to the "lie-berry." This, being one of my biggest pet peeves, made me cringe, and I had to say something about it--something along the lines of don't-ever-say-that-again-or-my-head-will-explode. He, in return, said, "Hey, I wasn't the English major, you know."

"I know," I replied. "But you do speak English, so can you please at least pretend to do it well?" He grudgingly agreed, probably just to shut me up.
I guess my point--which I'm struggling to reach here--is that we are regressing; language is no longer expanding and growing to include modern life. It's shrinking to single-syllable words and bad spelling. Grr.
Anyway, check it out if you want to...

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