Thursday, January 22, 2009

I do not understand the benefit of textspeak.

Language is my business. My obsessive fear of traumatic head injury comes from a fear of anything that would interfere with my ability to read, speak, or put words on paper. As a child I was a champion speller, and even now my breaks during the work day consist of Facebook games of Scramble and WordTwist, and rounds of Scrabble on the Internet Scrabble Club. Believe it or not, I'm not that good at Scrabble; I'd always rather play the words instead of playing the board, and thus will never beat anyone who understands the power of a well-placed "xi."

An old friend has recently decided to replace the word "to" in her Internet communications with the numeral "2." These are not text messages on telephones, where she's charged by the character; these are status updates and emails and posted comments.

I haven't yet asked her why she's doing this, and I probably won't, because I doubt my ability to ask in a way that doesn't sound judgmental. I'll sound judgmental because I am judgmental. In what universe, really, is anyone so busy that they need the time they save by typing "2" instead of "to"?

Beyond that, I find textspeak an insufferable transfer of inconvenience from writer to reader. By rtng n abbrvs, th rtr sez hr time is mr mprtnt thn th rdr's. How long did it take you to figure out what that sentence meant? How much time did it save me to type it out that way? None, actually, because I had to figure out what the textspeak for each word might be.

Now that I've gotten all on my high horse about this, I'll probably find out my friend is just doing it to be sarcastic, or as a private joke with another friend. Sarcasm is hard to convey on the Internet, which is why you will still find me using the occasional emoticon -- though I don't like them, and would like to impose a permanent ban on LOL, ROFL, ROFLMAO, and all variations thereof.

But that's a rant for another day.


Kevin Wignall said...

It's possible your friend is emailing you from a phone, thereby entering a texting grey area.

The funniest thing I heard was when cultural types latched onto the fact that teenagers were using the word "book" to mean "cool" because predictive texting gives you the former if you try to type the latter. The pundits couldn't work out that this didn't mean the kids were equating book with cool. Actually, it suggested a group of people for whom the word "book" served no other purpose.

sheilacameron said...


AnswerGirl said...

OK, that made me laugh. But not ROFL.

Gramps said...

I am a reluctant texter, and I always (well, almost always) use the correct spelling and punctuation. I just don't want my kids 2 b idiuts wen they grw up

Anonymous said...

I think it also has to do with people not being able to spell or form grammatically correct sentences in the first place. It's a good way to cover that up. And the quick chatting makes it harder still to punctuate and spell efficiently.

This is especially unfortunate for teens, who need to learn to write correctly, but do so less and less.

Not book at all!