Are you living in the world of LOL, LMAO and Ltr? I realize that it is very popular to complain about the language youngsters use nowadays, but I think there is legitimate reason for it. With the short, cryptic abbreviations they use, the youngsters not only damage the beauty of their native tongue, but also limit their ability to express themselves and receive clear and precise messages.
In this fast paced world, people have the desire to communicate quickly. With the invention of fast communication devices, such as the internet, competition is fierce and decisions have to be made often times quickly. Large quantities of information have to be transferred over in a short time from one place to the next. The younger generation is born into this fast paced world. They are used to messaging each other instantly at the touch of a finger. They move quickly and say a lot with a few cryptic words.
The problem is that, unless they are mind-readers, this cryptic communication leads to misunderstanding and frustration. The person at the receiving end may read her own interpretation into the message, missing the point. The original sender may get frustrated at the misunderstanding of the receiver. Sending further cryptic messages to clarify the original message may make the whole affair even worse. The issue is that short, cryptic messages do not allow the clarity and precision that well-explained, longer sentences can express with the use of a decent vocabulary. The following is an example. A young woman walks in a park at night and spots the shining moon and the stars above. She wants to express her feelings about it. Here is the message she texts to her friend:
“im out in prk strs n mun kol. shr exts”
This was an actual example I saw. I had to think about the meaning of the words when I saw them. The problem is that her friend thought that she was having sex with her boyfriend outdoors. In reality, she was describing her feelings about the starry night and the shining moon. This miscommunication could have been avoided by using proper vocabulary. Compare this to my description of how I felt about nature. Carried away by nature’s beauty, I contemplated the mental and spiritual freedom she could provide, if I properly understood her essence.
I am a humble creator of her majestic beauty,
carrying the torch of her eternal wisdom
on the path of darkness lit for the worthy
to gain the eternal gift of her freedom.
The point is that people’s ability to express themselves and understand each other have shrunk and keep shrinking. In an increasingly complex world, the breakdown of communication can lead to ever greater mistakes, which makes life stressful and tense for people who have to spend so much time trying to smoothen out the misunderstandings. In such a world, people should be better communicators with clearer and more precise messages, instead of the alternative.
The lack of ability to communicate also worries me as a writer. First, I understand that people make mistakes when writing and explaining their thoughts. I am a good example. I was not born into an English speaking country. I could not speak a word of English until I was seventeen years old. I make mistakes all the time. Basically, the issue is not lack of perfectionism. Rather, the issue is the lack of effort made toward learning to properly express oneself. Without this effort, it doubtful that future generation will be able to produce excellent writers. In such a world, who will be the next Shakespeare, Descartes or Sartre? As a writer, I am worried about the future; I am worried about the literature and philosophy the next generation will fail to leave behind.
I sincerely hope that more effort will be put into the quality of messages people send to each other in the future. It is worth slowing down just a little and spending time to explain oneself to ensure clarity and precision in a communicated idea. Quality should be valued more than quantity. After all, cryptic messages focused on quantity do not speed up communication, if one has to spend a lot of time afterward trying to clarify ideas that were missed or not communicated properly. Slow down a little and focus on the quality! Take a deep breath and count to ten before pressing the send button!
M. J. Mandoki