Sunday, June 05, 2011


UR2kewt4werds! *LOL*

Or words to that effect. What with Facebook, Twitter, and unfettered, non-stop texting, we're in uncharted language territory today, with wildly fluid boundaries, and written communication can get scary very quickly. A code book often would be helpful, so I've linked one here.

The prolific craze of techie code words can be quite unsettling to an old English major such as myself. I was raised to follow the book--the book being the dictionary. If a word wasn't included in my father's leatherbound Webster's dictionary, published 1937, it was not acceptable for discourse in our home. When "ain't" was added to the dictionary as a legitimate word about fifty years ago, Dad termed it a "concession to ignorance." Naturally, as a lover of the English language with such a purist background, I tend to look askance at the brave new world of creative spelling.

However, I realize that we need to be practical--and understood. Language is organic and dynamic; it evolves. To communicate effectively, speakers and writers must accept the new. As an example, unlike the speakers of Elizabethan English, nobody says "God's blood!" today when they're outraged. In fact, no one has said that for quite some time. That expression has been archaic for hundreds of years. Although considering the crudity of many modern expletives, and the confusion of so many morphing shortcuts, a return to Shakespearan dialect might do us all some linguistic good.

As for the newfangled cyber renditions of words, often packing a sentence-full of meaning into a tiny letter/number combination, I find Stendahl's quote especially relevant today--"I see but one rule: to be clear."

Or, as the kids might text: I C bt 1 rle, 2b clr

God's blood!