What’s the point of language?

All the exam results are in and people are doing the usual ‘Oh it’s so easy now’ ranting and all that stuff. It’s also come in line with people once again bemoaning the fact that children don’t talk/write properly any more and that is of course the fault of the internet. I love language, I love words, I love everything about them. When people are complaining about the terrible use of spelling by youngsters today I do wonder if they’ve got the point of language completely wrong.

Texting in the rainI’m not suggesting that children should be awarded A*s for writing about how ‘gr8 2 Kill a Mockingbird is’ but I do think that there’s nothing wrong with using text speak in context. If someone wants to write all their Twitter or Facebook updates in text speak – why not? They’re methods of communication. I know I make spelling errors and skip words for the sake of speed and space. I know that there are spelling errors on this blog but this blog isn’t my profession and it isn’t an exam paper.

Language is about communication. Language exists so people can talk to each other and get across what they want to say. If you can be understood in 6 characters rather than 66 and that’s your thing, go for it as far as I’m concerned.

It’s even more interesting to see that research shows that text speak doesn’t actually have a significant impact upon children’s spelling.  Obviously this is only one study but I find it interesting that all the moaning and groaning about the terrible state of language isn’t necessarily necessary.

There’s an air of snobbery around text speak but then there’s always an air of snobbery when talking about teenagers and young adults from the perspective of someone older I think. People feel the need to prove that things were harder in their day, Well in my day, which admittedly wasn’t long ago, text speak was rife, I used it every single day of the week and I also still managed to pass GCSEs, pass A Levels and get a degree. I also love the fact that there’s evidence to show even the Royal Family have used text language where necessary in the past, even if it wasn’t known as that at the time. I have a sneaking suspicion many peoples problem with ‘text speak’ is that they see it as a class thing. If you dare to type in a quick, “incorrect” way then you are betraying your poor, working class roots – it couldn’t be you’re just saying what you want to say in the quickest way possible. Obviously I’m not saying that you won’t find text speak bloody everywhere but most of the people turning their noses’ up will be simultaneously casting judgement upon a person’s whole lifestyle, based upon their language. It’s not my idea of a good thing.

Language is about communication, however you choose to communicate should be accepted not lambasted. Whether you’re 15 or 50 if you want to say gr8, l8, txt or wrk, you go for it, I’ll be able to understand you and that’s essentially the point.

What do you think?

Photo: Guillaume Perreault via Compfight