The fast paced modern lifestyle has coupled with the growing number of smartphones, tablets and instant messaging services catapulted the rapid transition in the language. The relatively small screen size of the mobile led to shorter messages which inevitably got even shorter. People frequently writing the same things would reduce the length of those words and phrases so that the meaning remained intact while the effort required communicating and the amount of screen space used were both minimized. Most smartphones nowadays comes with autocorrect capabilities that intelligently show up frequently used words and abbreviations, saving typing time for users.
The shorter messages have destroyed one's vocabulary and English speaking skills. It is seen that most of the people who use 'Shorter messages', face spelling errors most of the time. Undoubtedly, the significance of knowing and then practicing proficient English has become even more of paramount importance in today's interconnected world. Over 1 billion people speak English i.e. 1 in every 7 person on earth, out of which 80 percent of information stored on all computers in the world is in English and in every 98 minutes, a new English word is created. Interestingly 90 percent of everything written in English uses just 1000 words.
People today have started writing more in terms of how they converse rather than how they are supposed to write. 'ROFL' -Laughing Rolling Over the Floor Laughing, 'TC' -Take Care, and the latest ones like 'JOMO' -Joy of Missing Out and 'FOMO' which means Fear of Missing Out, are few examples of the modern day English language that people use to converse influenced by the collective technological world i.e. email, texting, IM, blogging, and social networking. Even while speaking, English pronunciation skills suffer. Grammatically correct and sound English fell victim at the hands of convenience and need for speed. School kids and young people too are fast in picking up this style of language which eventually has a huge impact on their English speaking and writing skills, later on in their lives. Good English speaking skills is as important as writing good English.
It is often said that every boon comes with its share of bane. While technology undoubtedly gives a Midas touch to any and everything it gets close to, have sadly proved itself wrong in this case. In the guise of modernizing and shortening the English language, technology is actually ruining it. While technologies like e-learning, m-learning and learning through social networks are definitely beneficial, however technology has its flipside too. The new English language that we have created and are creating by changing spellings to our convenience so that we have to type less is really hampering our language and not improving the original language when seen in the long run.
English and other teachers are worried that the widely-used short-messaging language could hamper students' command over the English language frequent and irresponsible use of abbreviated and simplified English words may cause concern to their literary standards from an early age. Prolonged usage of such meaningless words could destroy their ability to pronounce words correctly and use the correct words where it is required, like for example in writing exam papers or creating a research report or a whitepaper or even writing for a newspaper. Examiners and other educationists have expressed concerns over the use of text messaging language appearing in school and college examination answers.
In order to conveniently move in sync with the technology like text messaging, chat messaging and social networking, the changes that are being applied to grammar and punctuation are inevitable. We do not think twice before omitting adjectives, conjunctions and prepositions and also curb words by conveniently leaving out vowels and even use nouns interchangeably with verbs incorrectly. In fact, many alphabets are replaced by numeric digits that sound similar when pronounced. For example: 'G8t 2 no u' means 'great to know you' or "I'l c u 2dy" is "I will see you today". These kind of uses of fragmented and incomplete words, phrases and sentences are a true matter of concern for today's generation.
It is important to understand that we become what we behold and by constantly indulging ourselves in the shorter version of Phone and Internet lingo, for instance, while writing any piece of an essay or blog, people mostly tend to use words like 'Ritin' instead of 'Writing' and 'Dat' instead of 'That', '4ward' instead of 'Forward'. We are ourselves becoming limited in our linguistic abilities. Survey report also suggests that people are used to SMSs, tend to make more grammatical mistakes and find it difficult to read proper English. While People actually think that the usage of such language is cool and makes them trendy. Retaining the original language as it is meant to be is need of an hour and critically important to put across the right message more than using a text or SMS which in a lot of cases can be totally misunderstood.
Leapt from a sparkling corporate career with Cadbury and escalated with Gillette/Procter & Gamble as Regional Business Director for the Middle East and Africa. Ranu Kawatra previously worked with iDiscoveri and was President and CEO of Pearson Education, India Region (PEI). Presently he is Co-founder and CEO at Maxx English (Edutopia).