Thursday, July 16, 2009

e-English: r v changin langwij?

Language has always been dynamic. For whatsoever reasons, English has been the most popular language throughout the world. All the languages change from time to time and English is not an exception. It is only through change that we grow. A language also changes and grows.

In the recent days, many observations are being made about information technology’s influence on the language. English used in internet, e-mail, chats, SMS, online communications, etc is undergoing lot of changes. We can have a look at what has happened to English because of electronic medium in academic world.

SMS has been one of the most popular ways of communication among youngsters. The language used here has lot of deviations in terms of spellings, language, short forms, punctuations, emoticons, etc. The teachers are horrified at the way English is used by their students in the e-mails, SMS and shockingly in examination papers. Most of the youngsters are using a different type of English unknown to their parents or teachers but can be easily understood among their peer groups. A generation gap seems to have occurred in language too.

This was not what they were taught in the grammar or spelling classes. The youngsters have been trying to script the colloquial language they had been using. “Are you coming to movie?” of their grammar classes to “coming to movie?” to their of sms which reads, “cmng 2 muvi? .” The teachers can question the language used by the students only in the answer papers or class. The youngsters among themselves communicate in e-English, which can’t be stopped at all. Even if a student sends an SMS to the teacher, “hpy teachrz dei!” there can’t be a rightful objection at all.

If the users are asked about this, we are sure to get an answer like, “I wanted to say something. I have said it in my own way and the intended receiver has understood it.” So, e-English has been developing with this idea only. The lexical, grammatical, punctuation and discourse features are changing drastically there. Excessive use or complete negligence to punctuation marks, bizarre spellings which are based on phonetic features of the words, use of smileys or emoticons wherever feelings need expression and so on are widely used.

Lack of time for communication, to be creative, to save space, to be short, to rebel against the rules of the language seem to be the causes of this language change. Its future can’t be predicted. We can only recognize it once it happens. The short forms have already entered the dictionary. They may enter grammar books too! On the other hand it may develop as a new dialect of English. Let’s wait and watch, as we know, it can’t be stopped!