This is part two of my three-part series. This time around I am discussing the problem of spelling and grammar due to the use of chat room lingo.
I visit many web sites during the course of a day, but lately I have found myself a bit more discouraged. It seems that more people are writing essays, commentaries and articles. Now, I am not referring to typos or use of slang terms, those can be found everywhere including my own site, but the blatant misspelling of the same words over and over in a single composition. There are resources available all over the Internet to assist with spelling and grammar, just look at dictionary.com. I have visited many sites where the author of a composition is complaining because his writing does not get noticed by the professionals, but within the article are several misspellings, words used out of context and horrific grammar. It didn't take long to figure out why this self-proclaimed Shakespeare didn't have publishers knocking down his door. Many people feel that they need to post often on their site, this means they have to rush through an article without thinking. Good writing takes time. It's either that or people are just too lazy to check spelling and grammar and don't want anybody they know to proofread it. This is only one part of the problem; the other has just popped up in the past few years.
There are only two places where chat room lingo are acceptable, chat rooms and instant messaging (IM). I remember a couple news stories in the past year and a half or so that were about high school kids failing their final reports because they used chat room lingo instead of proper English. A final school report is supposed to be a professional document that shows that students have learned proper spelling and grammar. Its fine to use this lingo for notes, drafts and anything else that will not be turned in, but the final product must be written as professionally as possible. Not everybody knows the language of the chat room. I have never seen an article in the newspaper or any magazine that uses chat room lingo. That is because it is not a recognized form of language in the real world and should be kept where it belongs.
The written word is becoming a casualty of the Internet age. More people send e-cards and e-mail greetings to wish one another a happy holiday, be it birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc. rather than sitting down and writing out cards or letters by hand. Writing still has and advantage over computer text. Computer text is sterile and emotionless; miscommunication is an undesired side-effect. The written word has a life of its own, it shows the receiver that care was given to this letter, and an effort was made. I tend to believe that thoughts are better remembered when they are written by hand. Almost every article on this site are written in a black composition book before they are ever seen on the computer monitor. Most of the time the finished article looks very little like the written text, but the meaning always remains the same. There is certain elegance to the written word, one that cannot be copied on any computer, no matter which fonts are used.
Writing by hand is a gift that is too important to just throw away. It's easier to carry a pen and notebook than it is a computer. Looking at one's own handwriting can offer inspiration and is unique to each person. I encourage letter writing and writing out greeting cards, it shows people how much I really do care. Chat room lingo is meant for chat room and IM, not for term papers, research assignments or anything else that will reach a broad audience. Grammar skills are very important and necessary for communication, keep those sharp.
Next Monday I will be posting the last part of the series which deals with my biggest pet peeve. You won't want to miss it.