My friends, I stand before you today a woman concerned, nay, alarmed at the gradual disappearance of punctuation from this glorious language of ours. It appears that the comma, colon and semi-colon have reached the endangered species list, and the full stop isn’t too far behind them. Add to this the growing epidemic that is “text speak” and we are, I fear, witnessing the destruction of the written word as we know it. This of course is great news for people who never fared well in their English lessons, but those of us who bathed and luxuriated in the formation of our prose are appalled.
I ask you to take up arms and annihilate this silent enemy that resides amongst us, thanks to text messaging and the social networking revolution. Do not succomb to it’s seductive ways! Clasp your thesaurus close to your breasts and scream “get thee behind me!” to the phenomenon that lulls you into laziness and, quite frankly, makes you look a bit of a nerd unless you happen to be sixteen.
The capitalisation of letters is getting scarcer by the day and increasingly abbreviated “text-speak” seems to be the preferred mode of written communication. I can’t quite work out if people have grown so languid that they can’t be bothered to reach for the shift key, or maybe it’s related to self-esteem …. as in “i am not worthy, i am not the big ‘I am’ ”
“LMAO what causes this tirade?” I hear you cry …. (I have to confess I am quite prone to LOL, and quite frequently LMAO, too 😉 )
Well, a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a chap giving me a potted history of his relationships (and the chap concerned is divorced and in his mid-forties so let’s describe his history as “involved” … not unlike my own, in fact). The message in question measured fifteen centimetres on my screen so the fact that it was “involved” made it “lengthy”.
At no point did said chap use a capital letter or any punctuation, nor did he pause to break his tale up into paragraphs.
Consequently I believe I missed the detail of the last two significant relationships he’d endured through feeling compelled to speed to the end so that I could take a breath. I have to give him credit for the fact that he had skillfully injected pace into his story. I, on the other hand, felt like the oxygen had been mysteriously sucked out of my office.
When I mentioned some time ago to someone that good grammar and spelling were of such important to me that I believed it made me incompatible with certain men, he replied “maybe you’d have better luck with men if you lowered your standards”. Once you see past the obvious hilarity of this statement the sad reality sets in that our standards are dropping so low that we will need to scoop them up out of the gutter at some point soon. If we can be bothered.
And if you use Twitter you are limited to one hundred and forty characters, so embarking on a roll about a particular subject isn’t an option. Don’t think of gathering pace and working up to a peak because ….. your text box will turn red to advise you that your Tweet is now a long-winded Twarble so you’d better cut it back. Consequently you see many brief messages like “ice cream, iPhone, iTweet” which are brief, punchy …. and totally banal.
In conclusion, I suspect this all makes me quite anal …. but not in the way Madonna was. No wonder I’m single. LMAO.