Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Rape of Lang-Widg

Written language without proper grammar and spelling is like a sketch without colors. Unfortunately, the World Wide Web has affected the English language so that the celebrated Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez called for the scrapping of spelling.

“Spelling, that terror visited on human beings from the cradle onwards, should be pensioned off,” once Garcia Marquez told a meeting.

The statement, no doubt, is provocative. But there must be some reason behind this provocation: What made Garcia Marquez call for the ‘pensioning off’ of spelling?
This stems from the modern trend where literature has been reduced to the level of day-to-day language. The popularity of the Internet has swept aside all norms and forms of spelling. Aiding and abetting this downward spiral is the mobile phone Short Messaging Service. Language is telegraphic, and spellings shortened to mere alphabets. Thus ‘you’ has become ‘u’, ‘r’ is enough for ‘are’, and in ‘c’ you can ‘see’.

Rules of grammar have been thrown out of the ‘Windows’ (I mean the operating system). Communication is instant. People are now guided more by phonetics than the lexicon. Thus ‘accommodate’ is now ‘akomodate’, ‘accident’ is ‘axident’ and because is ‘coz.’

These are the pangs of the learning process which every teacher and student has to bear. I was surprised when I read Garcia Marquez’s statement. He is a leading light of literature. If he upholds the rape of language, then who is going to stop it? He should be the one fighting to keep language and literature pure.

No doubt, there are those who justify this rape of language in the name of popularity. The global village has a new dialect which is easier for the ‘netizens’ to understand and faster to communicate. E-mails and text messaging are different from traditional letter writing, argue those who favor the style of electronic discourse. But does traditional letter writing exist any more? Space constraint restricts me from bemoaning the death of letter writing.

Communication is different from correspondence. Those sharing e-mails or sending text messages fail to realize that they are not communicating but corresponding. I think this is the basis of the problem.


Kit said...

yes, and i am all for the quick and easy way we talk on the net or on cell messages.
unfortunately the result of that many people i have come in contact with can't spell or speak in proper sentences. i have interns sending me CVs with mistakes all over it. i have had coworkers writing me short notes (on paper) that i need time to decrypt.
perhaps as you say, we really need to know when we should use which form of talk.

chase said...

really? did Gabriel Garcia Marquez said all that. hmmm..

i love 100 years of solitude.