Watch Out English!

Look, English, I am fond of you. No, seriously, I am.

I would hate to have someone do the dirty on you. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground as I have. If not, I think you ought to. Things are getting dangerously bad for you dude! No, you’re not going to die. Its much, much worse!

They’re going to cut your body parts out one by one and replace each with something a lot smaller and insubstantial. The replaced parts will be sterile and passionless. They’re going to make a distorted pygmy out of you, ugly and misshapen. I don’t know if you go in much for preening in front of the mirror but at the rate at which things are going, preening in front of the mirror will be a thing of the past for you. Unless you develop an asbestos lined gut in the interim so that you don’t feel sick looking at yourself in all your revolting hideousness.

There is a new predator out there called SMS English. I see that you are smiling indulgently at me as one would smile at a distraught two year old whose daddy got off the train to fill the water bottle and the train moved off. I am not that two year old. You are not the daddy who jumps nonchalantly onto a moving train and is restored to his family heroically. You are two ticks away from becoming the asinine daddy who genuinely misses the train- in more ways than one!

Get that silly smile off your smug map! Don’t you understand what perils you face?

When youngsters use abortions like tym, som1 and u2, one scrunches up one’s nose in fastidious distaste, sighs, shakes one’s head and gets busy with the disinfectant and mop. Now, with the young- at –heart becoming tech- savvy, you witness the nauseating spectacle of a grand- dad sending a text to his obnoxious grandchild asking the worm, “wt tym wl u b bk?”

It is enough to make one feel ill!

Not fazed, eh? You think this is a fad? You think that’s only a grandparent’s foolish ploy to fit in and be cool to his grandkids? You fatuous donkey! I am beginning to feel you deserve whatever you are going to get.

Can’t you see how dangerous this trend is? Has any civilization ever seen a grandparent adopting the values of a grandchild? Hasn’t it always been the other way round? Well, yes, that has created problems too but those are manageable challenges. This is giving me the jitters… as should it you, if you had half a brain!

Okay, swallow this one, I dare you!

Unpleasant as it is, the evidence of an informal conversation (??) in SMS English between two people, at least one of whom should have known better, is still tolerable. But when you see this language used (hold on to your hat here and grab a firm hold of that tree with the other hand) in FORMAL BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS, dare you use any other word to describe it but grotesque?

You still can’t see now how bad it is, can you? If steps aren’t taken soon (and the hell with the proper channels dammit, this is WAR!), it’ll be too late. Civilization is already up to its blinkered eyes into a melting pot. The thing you are trying to hang on to is not a straw, it is the ladle which will help pour the melted civilization into hideous little pebbles which rude upstarts would hurl irreverently at the unsuspecting, giving them painful black eyes.

You’re still smiling?! Oh, what it is to have to deal with a fool! Wait, I’ll settle you yet!

A decade ago, English and the vernacular behaved like gentlemen. They kept graciously and grandiosely to themselves, meeting occasionally with all the old world grace and and aloof pomp of the centuries that hung by their garments like worn out tassels. The vernacular was expressed haughtily in its own script and the Latin alphabet was allowed to put its nose in the air and was left alone for English users. That is no longer true.

Today, the hunted has turned predator! The boundaries between English and vernacular Indian languages has been wiped out. Indeed, sticking conscientiously to the literal definition of vernacular (commonly used language), one is compelled to acknowledge that the vernacular has changed to an Indian language written using English alphabets! Hence the uncouth grandchild replies to the grandparent’s text with a lethal text of his/ her own by writing, “pata nahi. so jaao.” (I don’t know. Go to sleep.)

Are you listening? Hello… hello….! Hellllllllooooooo! What’s happened to you!! Are you alright? Can you breathe?! What! You swooned?!

Oh, you insufferable, daft fish!

Picture: Mine
Picture: Mine
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40 thoughts on “Watch Out English!”

    1. Oh yes! Much, much more! This is wrong grammar though. I was talking about the trend of using a language which can be called anything but English.

      So your would become ur and you’re would become u r. And so on. No less revolting.

    1. Suresh, I wounded you!? Really? Is it even possible?

      A Wodehouse hero once blithely assured the heroine, “You couldn’t hurt my feelings with an axe; you’d have to find them first.” Now, now, don’t jump to conclusions! I didn’t mean it that way. I am sure you have loads of feeling just waiting to be wounded. I just remembered the snippet, so shared. 😀

      1. I meant that the wounds to English wound me too Dagny – not that you did 🙂 AND yes I may have loads of feelings just waiting to be wounded BUT I myself have not found them yet 🙂

  1. OMG! Dats an ossumli hilarious pst, Dagny! On a serious note, SMS lingo makes me cringe! I read a post which had words mEt, bEn and suddenly it dawned on me that when mEt and bEn are written with a capital E it meant MEET and BEEN respectively!! The reading experience shifts to deciphering the language!

    1. The first line of your comment made my eyebrows disappear into my hairline Shilpa. 😀 But the rest of your comment brought them down rapidly and the love light ignited in my eyes once again. I have heard people defend poor language by saying that as long as the intent has been communicated, only a foolish purist would complain against the language. I’ve never understood that line of argument. I am a purist if that’s what you call me. I do have standards and I will not apologize for them!

      So good to see you here. 🙂

    1. Oh yes Akanksha! It is time to settle scores! *rolls up her sleeves with a steely glint in her eyes*

      Thank you for coming by girl! 🙂

  2. Oh ! now I am a bit cautious about my words too. I need to watch them. I hate the short cuts too but end up using words like Wt, U and brk etc 🙁
    Cant help !
    Should try to improvise my language first
    Btw Great post . I mean by the way 😉

    1. Ha ha.. I seem to have scared you! Sorry… I am not such an ogre as all that. In chats and sms, sometimes even I use clipped spellings. It seems to have become the norm to such an extent that sometimes people dont realize when they’ve used an abbreviated form. To see that kind of language appearing in professional communications and blog is most annoying. I refer you to Shilpa and Rachna’s comments. They’ve both raised very valid points.

      Btw, I know what you mean. 😀 Thanks for coming by Afshan!

  3. I am tolerant with SMS lingo for SMS purposes though I prefer not to use it personally. But in formal communication, I see red, blue, and the entire rainbow when I see poor English usage. And the maximum disservice is done by “authors” who use pedestrian English and publish poorly edited books confusing the already confused usage of the current generation. I don’t see this trend reversing anytime soon. English is comatose!

    1. To a limited extent, I too have learned to accept SMS English. But people go overboard with it. And to see it used in blogs is annoying. To see it in books is enough to justify first degree I think. Alas, I too dont think this trend will reverse soon.


      1. The first time someone wrote ‘nyc post,’ I wondered why someone is writing New York City in abbreviation for a post? What is the point of using such crazy language at all in common usage? The sad part is the future of the language. I was really sad to know that Wren and Martin is no longer a part of the curriculum in schools :(.

        1. I am sorry to see the poor quality of English being taught in schools nowadays. The teachers aren’t too fluent with the language. Their own concepts of grammar are clear, what can one expect from them. I have lost count of the number of times I have gone through my children’s answer sheets and picked out mistakes in compositions and essays which the teacher missed out on. I once told one of daughter’s English teachers that she was doing a great disservice to the child by not deducting marks for mistakes. She was very offended. I was like, Duh!

          1. Absolutely, I agree. Language teachers are of alarming standard these days. They completely mess up the grammar, spelling and pronunciation. I am as disheartened as you are :(.

          2. Precisely-my father was an undergraduate (he would have been 110 years old today),but his English was perfect.Compare it to what is taught to students in many schools today-and you can’t blame the students.
            It is very cumbersome to type on mobiles and the youngsters are always in a hurry-so SMS language can still be tolerated,but not outside the mobile.
            What irritates me is ungrammatical language in blogs;then i tell myself that well someone wants to express himself in this language,let it be.

          3. You are totally a saint Indu. There is no way I can prevent people from expressing themselves in the language they are comfortable in, but I’ll be damned if I’ll read them. 😀 On a blog post, that language puts me off terribly!

            So happy to see you here. 🙂 Wish you and your family a happy new year!

  4. Oh the whole exam paper is answered/written in the SMS lingo these days. This angers me when people write blog posts and poetry in this lingo. Poetry?? Blasphemy seriously.

    1. Sacrilege Janaki, pure sacrilege! I feel so sick reading poor language used to write blog posts- specially when the blog isn’t a online diary i- write- for- myself kind of a blog but one which aspires to the title of a writer/ poet. I sometimes wonder what such people think they are doing. I am sure they don’t think what a poor impression they give.

  5. Looks like the ship (that might have rescued dear old Good English from its bitter, sad demise) has already sailed. Moreover, on its decks, I can already see the proud generation of today dancing fervently to the new language of Honey Singh.

    1. I think the snooty guy will live on surreptitiously in tiny little pockets found in the mind and hearts of language lovers like us. You had to leave a “2 gud” behind, didn’t you? 😀

      Thanks for coming by Alka 🙂

    1. With your worry joined to mine I think we may yet save English from perishing! May God speed our efforts. 🙂
      Good to see you here. Thanks for the visit!

  6. As someone who corrects the spellings in chat messages, I totally understand what you mean and feel. In an age of self publishing where anyone can write and publish a book and become an author, it is inevitable that the sanctity of the language will be sacrificed. Let’s hope that a few people will still carry the beacon though. 🙂

    1. Welcome to my blog!

      To tell you the truth, my spelling isn’t all that hot. I rely heavily on the integrated spell- checks of word processors. I should probably be the worst transgressor where spellings are concerned.

      But strange abbreviations truly put me off. “Words” like b4 make me seethe with outrage. I join you in your prayers. I hope the beacon shines on. Bleak reading experience for us otherwise. *shudders*

      Thanks for coming by… 🙂

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