Tuesday, July 1, 2008


The other day I made a comment on another blog about the lack of grammatical / spelling aptitudes in writing today. The writer of the blog had recently read an article by CNN where the author had used bare instead of bear in regards to the recent SCOTUS decision on gun ownership in Washington DC. My view is that people are entirely too dependent on grammar and spell check (especially when using Microsoft office products). These products do have the practical application of correcting basic errors but do nothing in regards to context of the writing.

Naturally, this lead to a discussion of where writing is going in America. My problem is that too many students today, thanks to internet chat speak and a lack of emphasis in the grade/high schools on grammar, do not have a competency in this particular area. Many college writing instructors/writing lab attendants as well people like me who have read papers from incoming freshmen report the necessity to review these basic skills. In addition, there seems to be a prevalence to write in chat speak either in the note taking (and in some cases in assignments). This has lead me to question the beginnings of chat speak, anthropologically speaking.

Some argue that chat speak is a natural progression from the early days of BBSes (and I am assuming that is how BBS would be made into a plural) and the early days of hackers such as Masters of Deception. My question: Is that the true beginning of chat speak or is the military use of acronyms the true harbinger of chat speak. When I was in high school, there were few acronyms used amongst high schoolers although my home life (being a military brat) was filled with acronyms. Words like SitRep, AWOL, SOP, etc. I've also noticed that certain acronyms have made the jump from the military world to the corporate world. For example: SOP has become almost common place to describe the operating procedures of almost any business. Additionally, television shows such as JAG and movies like Renaissance Man and Good Morning Vietnam have all "promoted" (wrong word but I am not sure what the right word is) this shortened writing/speech style of inserting acronyms into sentences.

So any thoughts?

1 comment:

Orb said...

Some argue that chat speak is a natural progression from the early days of BBSes and the early days of hackers

Bull. I was a part of that culture, and we used real words and, generally, proper grammar. It wasn't until the internet proper was officially born, along with script kiddies, that crap like "l33t" and such started being the lingo. Even then, people with brain cells in their heads didn't use it, and anyone who did was considered someone not worth bothering with.

I don't even think any of it can really be blamed on military jargon either, though there has been a lot of crossover in the last decade or so.

No. I think the downfall of written communication falls squarely on the shoulders of internet chatting (it takes too long to type out whole words -- nothing but laziness there) and the educational system (if it's being seen in college papers, someone somewhere let them get away with it before).

Yesterday, I was trying to find out more about UR planes. All I know is it is mathematical and has to do with hyperbolic planes. I don't even know what the "UR" stands for, which was why I was looking it up. Good freaking luck finding anything, thanks to millions of people being too ignorant or too lazy to type y-o-u-r instead of u-r. Color me beyond aggravated.

"Chatspeak" makes me want to scream. But then, you already knew that didn't you? ;)