Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Slangish


In the January issue of The Rotarian magazine, author Frank Bures shared his insight into the growing distance between words and their meanings.
I shared my opinion on his article, which got published in this month's edition of the magazine (with the same title as this blog post). Read on:

Frank Bures' article on "Frankenwords" {January) and how they're affecting our culture resonated with me. 

It brought to mind another aspect of word creation that is taking Social media (specifically instant messaging) to a whole new level -- the creation of shorthand.

As a social media enthusiast, I find myself in a number of online groups where issues of interest are discussed on a daily basis. The WhatsApp platform is one where I'm in almost 20 groups.
I come across a lot of shorthand that either annoys me or does not make sense at all. Because of this, I often have to seek clarification before getting the importance of the message. 
Nowadays,  apparently, it's normal to see "girls" spelled "gels", "boys" spelled "bois",  "you" is "yu" (which conventionally, should at least be "u"), "all right" is now "ayt", and some other crazy and confusing ones like "naa" for "no" (note that Naa is a name for a Ga girl in Ghana).
Most of these are created on the spur of the moment by the individual sending the  message.
This irks me a lot, especially when letters of the new shorthand are equal to or even longer than those in the actual word.

In the case of the shorthand, not only is meaning distorted, it actually has a negative effect on the writing skill of its creators and users. As an educator, I've come across some of these while grading students' papers, and it really gets me down. It's a personal assignment I've given myself now, to prompt people to use full words when chatting and occasionally use conventional shorthand.

I will like to hear your thoughts on this phenomenon as well, via the comments section. Thanks