English on the Web

I love the Internet. It is probably the single most valuable and influential invention since the wheel. As a research tool and information depository, it is unequalled. For entertainment purposes, there are games, jokes, pictures, stories, etc. to keep one’s attention for days at a time (this is from personal experience).

It has also brought the world together, and made if feel a little smaller. You can communicate and interact with folks from everywhere on the planet. I find it fascinating to get perspectives on all kinds of issues from people from different cultures and societies. 

The internet and online gaming have even spawned their own language, or sub-languages. LOLSpeak is one of the relatively newer ones. Leetspeek(d00d j00 g0t pwnd!) and Chatspeak (brb ggp!) are among other more popular ones. The proliferation of e-mail and instant messaging (and more recently mobile phone texting) have engrained these sub-languages and emoticons into worldwide culture, to the point that most emoticons now actually replace ASCII emotes with graphical images, and some spell-checkers don’t even balk at chat abbreviations. Some are born of a combination of laziness and practicality, some just for fun, some just to annoy the piss out of others.

One thing that disturbs me though is the realization that, for whatever reason, some people either are incapable or unwilling to compose their thoughts in a comprehensive or grammatically-correct (or something even CLOSE to it) manner. I know that I’m not perfect. I know that everyone makes mistakes. I’m sure some English Expert somewhere could easily spot several flaws in my own writing, but at least I try. English isn’t easy, in fact, it’s one of the toughest languages on Earth to master. Even knowing this, it’s real hard to take anyone seriously that doesn’t even bother to try.

I can understand this type of thing from people for whom English is a second, third, even fourth language. Seeing it from people that grew up speaking ONLY English, use it every day, were schooled in it almost from birth, yet can’t manage to compose a sentence or spell even the simplest of words, makes me sick. It has become one of my absolute most irksome peeves to see people that can’t tell the correct way to use “your/you’re” or “their/there/they’re” or who don’t know how to end a sentence. Too many people seem to have no use for punctuation other than the occasional “?” or “!!!!!!!!!!!!” when composing posts or replies on the internet.

What startles me most, though, is when people I know, who speak English reasonably well and are otherwise somewhat intelligent, exhibit this kind of behavior. It’s one thing when it’s done for effect or for humor, but it’s entirely different when they feel that it’s perfectly acceptable for normal correspondence and cannot fathom why people don’t take what they have to say seriously.

So, what can be done about it? For me, all I can do is either go around being the grammar police or just ignore it and move on. At least here, I have some control over things, and if someone has something to say to me here, as long as they are capable of expressing it in a cognizant way, I’m more than happy to approve it. If, on the other hand, someone wants to simply flame me for what I blog about, or leave a comment that is complete gibberish or childishness, I will more than likely either edit or delete it.

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One Response

  1. […] PR and marketing lead culture, service, and sustainability… Saved by Peffy100 on Thu 01-1-2009 English on the Web Saved by NiwaAMV on Wed 24-12-2008 Music is Vital to Our Hearts Saved by berilg on Tue 23-12-2008 […]

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