Twitter, Facebook and Rap music are “klling da English lang”!

Published: October 20, 2013
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Every post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all other forms of social networking websites, is full of the so called new-age English- which apparently only the writer is able to comprehend. PHOTO: Twittonary.com

“LOL, LMFAO, Congo, TTYL”

For those of us born before the 80s, this would probably seem like an alien language or could lead to the assumption that the sender of the message has gone nuts.

Prepare yourself, my literate friends – this is the ‘new groove’. This is what they ‘dig’ these days.

Apparently, abbreviations have become our friends and we don’t let any chance slip from using them. Unfortunately, some of these actually end up being more confusing than helpful and annoy the hell out of a lot of people, including myself. The younger generation has made a short form for everything they consider ‘too long’ , so now ‘congratulations’ isn’ t just ‘congrats’ – appallingly enough, it has been reduced to ‘congo’.

What in the world is ‘congo’? What does that even mean?

Evidently, the younger lot couldn’t stand ‘rats’ in the word congratulations and decided to do away with it. Just like that.

The reason, in my opinion, that this trend surfaced was to save time in typing long words in to your PC or cell-phone. However, when some people try to be a bit more creative, it ceases to become productive in any way.

“Ds z a msg dt i rcv a fw dayz ago n i dnt knw wht d hl it mnt fr ovr 1hr!”

The time saved by the person typing out messages like the one above – entering abbreviations for almost everything – is spent by puzzled recipients who take at least five minutes trying to decipher this code.

Productive? Not so much.

Another reason, brought to my knowledge, about why this has become the latest ‘fad’ is because apparently some people actually find it ‘cool’ to type in this bizarre fashion. I have heard many parents complain bitterly about the lyrics of certain Hip Hop and Rap songs. Some truly amusing lyrics I came across were,

 “I say what’s next, what’s next, what’s N-X-E-T.”

Seriously?

Or,

“So cold I frostbite ‘em/No Pig Latin but I hog-tied ‘em.”

I am not even sure what the lyricist was thinking at when he/she wrote this.

We had Rock n’  Roll back in the day too, and it was on top of every young adult’ s playlist, but the lyrics to songs like Cyanide, Hysteria, No Remorse had meanings much deeper than:

“MAC, L’Oreal, yep, ’cause I’m worth it

Love the way I puts it on so perfect

Wipe the corners of my mouth so I work it

When I walk down the hallway, they can’t say nothin’.”

Social media sites haven’t made things any simpler, although they tried. With character limits on each tweet allowed, some Twitter posts become amusingly undecipherable. Its actually a mind-game (I am sure they will include these in the puzzle game books along with the crossword and Sudoko soon enough);

All this because apparently some of these word can be ‘unscrambled’ as;

You dare to ask me the point of this fruitless exercise? Beats me.

Every post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all other forms of social networking websites, is full of the so called new-age English, which apparently only the writer is able to comprehend.

I personally have no idea why people even try. This phenomenon (read epidemic) has spread so far and wide that people have actually taken it as far as changing the spelling for their own names in the fight of attaining a place in the ‘cool’ brigade. Names like Zeeshan are now Xeeshan, Faiza is Fyza, Sikander is Siki and the list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

Instead of figuring out a reasonable and intelligent method of shortening words without distorting the integrity of a message, people take it as an opportunity to let out their ‘creative’ side. In an attempt to ‘impress’ the reader with absolute gibberish, the writer not only loses his/her own point but also frustrates the reader. If things don’t iron out in time, employers in about 10 years time will get job applications looking somewhat like this;

“2 whom t may cncern,

I wd lke a job.

Thnx 4 cnsidrng me.

Rrgds.”

What I fail to understand is why our youth has become so infatuated with massacring a beautiful language that can have the same level of depth as sought by the likes of Shakespeare. Music may be influential in this impressionable age but if this is price that one has to pay then maybe we need to rethink the music genres we allow our young ones to hear. If social media forums affect the way a student perceives a certain language then maybe filtering it out until an appropriate age will be less damaging to the child.

At this point in life, it is important to correct people who make absolutely no sense, not just to help them out but for the sanity of humans all over the world. For a foreigner, the language barrier is difficult enough to deal with and such godforsaken abbreviations and acronyms will only widen that gap.

Parents should encourage their children to start reading books at an early age so they develop the habit of doing so on their own as well. At this point, a child who reads will be able to understand the difference between a regular English message and a code infested English message, but unless we encourage them to spot the difference now, through reading, soon enough the difference may just disappear. Just the thought gives me chills.

Learning English is not difficult at all but putting it to proper use is what we have to learn to do. Speak using the correct forms of the language, listen to music that will increase your understanding of the language and watch movies that will increase your vocabulary as well as your intellect. Give your mind something to ponder upon. Look for depth in the meaning of a phrase, not an online ‘abbreviation and acronym dictionary’ to decipher what it says!

Language is said to evolve with time, but if this is what the English language is deemed to become, then I fear we will all be hanging our heads in shame at Shakespeare’s tomb stone very soon.

Respect a language, “dnt kll t”.

Fahad Sheikh

Fahad Sheikh

A 23-year-old writer and a CIMA Student from Karachi. He is the owner of a small local business and is working the way towards becoming a professional writer. He blogs at www.fahadsheikhblog.wordpress.com and tweets @fadisheikh (twitter.com/fadisheikh)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • nasir mehmood

    Awesome point raised…very nice !!! Loved this Recommend

  • TribuneReader

    They not only mar the beauty of languages, but they also force youngsters to waste a lot of their time on (mostly) worthless pastimes and discussions.Recommend

  • Shoaib

    EwwwwwRecommend

  • sidjeen

    i understand your agony and agree with you that some people take it too far, but you should also consider the fact that most websites actually use word filtering softwares to edit certain words and most people use these words to convey a message and also dodge the software.Recommend

  • Pappu

    Today everything is disposable..including language.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    k k az u say, am highly empressed by ur blog. but wat if i say lyk dis dat it iz my lyf and i wanna butcher any language the way I want to :DRecommend

  • Saad

    Wat iz dis stpd pceRecommend

  • asna

    nice! helpful for my thesis :)Recommend

  • Rafay Bin Ali

    You have hit right on the mark, Fahad. I have often found myself
    wondering the same thing. I concluded that our environment can shed an
    insight into this. An empirical assessment of our environment where we
    (may be 95% of us) have a general tendency to actually “break” things
    whether they are tangible or intangible (rules for example), we break
    it. Or may be, we are just lazy. Or may be just indifferent.

    Same goes for language. To rephrase you we “massacred” most of Urdu, now we do the same to English.

    On
    my part, I make conscious efforts to type in complete sentences even on
    SMS. I own an old nokia phone but in the spirit of “respecting” the
    language i follow the rules of grammar, language and punctuation
    whenever i type an sms on the old phone.

    Today, most people have
    smart phones with full QWERTY keyboards. I see no reason why they can’t
    type in complete sentences either.

    Thanks for writing on such a crucial topic. Language is the backbone of civilizations. Unfortunately, we do not realize it.Recommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    Your review is greatly appreciated. I agree, even the QWERTY feature doesn’t make people respect the language. Salute to you for respecting the language.

    Twitter: @fadisheikhRecommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    I do not see my smartphone filtering “congratulations” to “congo” any sooner than 2040. I agree about the filtering part, I just think we should respect the language where we can.Recommend

  • Parvez

    As I definately was born before the ’80 , I thought should I read this drivel …….and I’m really glad I did because it was ……….. well worth it.
    Basically the concept is that the first and last letters in a word matter, even if the remaining letter are jumbled up………but this nonsense takes it to a new level. ( now should I put a P or a D at the end to appear hip ?……so confusing )Recommend

  • Aulto

    I would appreciate it more if people felt the same for a language once called urduRecommend

  • Mohsin Raza

    Could not agree any More !!Recommend

  • Sheema

    I could not agree with you more. Our teachers used to point this out in school too but people pay no heed as this is something that falls in the category of being cool according to them . This epidemic is so harmful that one suffering from it doesn’t even realize when they use it while writing descriptive answers and essays in exams.Recommend

  • KN

    Thank you for this, Fahad… And it’s not just spelling and alternative words that have gone down this route, the level of grammar in young kids these days is frighteningly bad. I consider myself a grammar Nazi (somewhat), and while the people around me find it annoying that I feel the need to correct them for the “there, they’re, their”s, I feel like at least SOME of us need to start working on a fix for this… mess.Recommend

  • Daisy

    @parvez :

    That’s not slang. Those alphabets denote facial expressions, It is not about trying to appear hip but about conveying your emotions to people you interact with without being face to face with those people. Facial epressions are an important tool of communication , when you’re interacting through the written mode and it is not a face to face interaction-this is a good way of letting people understand your emotions/facial expressions.Recommend

  • Bully

    Since you’re SO refined that you label the author’s article a ‘stupid piece’…maybe you should go read Shakespeare & leave us ordinary mortals to comment here.Recommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    The next article will address Urdu, hold on. Follow my blog to keep yourself updated.Recommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    It has come to my knowledge that not even the teachers try and fix these issues. Who are we to question the gurus on it? I do hope that this goes away though, this is going to harm English.Recommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    Very true. I have had my students right the same word again and again which they use substitute with their slang. This is turning really ugly now a days.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thank you Daisy for that…….and guess what, my friend Nandita explained all this to me quite some time back but I forgot the difference between the P and D. If facial expressions are needed what’s wrong with :-) or :-( ………..makes it more understandable.Recommend

  • hogtied

    Fahad,
    While I agree with you generally, will have to take exception on your critique of Rap music here, not because I like Rap music (I don’t) but because the slang, contractions, attitude (yes attitude!) are distinguishing features of rap music, they set it apart from other genres.
    For example, you wouldn’t apply the same standards to dialogue in literature would you? The dialogue is written to depict how the characters speak, not necessarily to demonstrate good language form (extreme examples: A Clockwork Orange, or Transpotting). Of course the rules still apply to the grammar used in the book (unless: it’s a first person narrative).
    For music, the “grammar” is the chords, structure, if the notes were put in incorrect order the song would sound out of tune and not appeal to anyone (not the case with Rap!).Recommend

  • Hasan I

    The beauty of language lies in it being dynamic and open to innovation. The appropriateness or otherwise lies in its use within a specific content. Consequently, I don’t see any need to purify the language of slang or jargon used in specific circumstances.

    As for it being adopted because of it being “cool”; it’s relative. Isn’t your analtality elitist because you want to project yourself as “educated” or “sophisticated”?Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Your article is an absolute “eye opener” . Believe me I recently had to go through an embarrassing moment due to this so called “Cool Lingo” . I was chatting with my niece and then received a message from her saying “U dare”,after the reading the same, I kinda blasted the poor kid, explaining the common manners and respect for elders. However later i was explained it meant “Are you still there?”. Arghhh the embarrassment I suffered although the kid had a good laugh :)Recommend

  • Pakistani

    very well said. enjoyed reading both the article and your comment.Recommend

  • Fahad Sheikh

    This is my point. The songwriters of today are incapable of producing a grammatically correct song with their tunes. 80s Rockers were not gods but they did it. This carelessness is what RAP has come to be excluding some artists.Recommend

  • Amistad

    up to you, Wqr QursiRecommend

  • A girl

    Seriously! People need to get this thing that using slang language doesn’t make them ‘kewl’, not even a bit.
    Thumbs up! :)Recommend