I’m so urban, it hurts (or…how modern media messaging is the downfall of human language skills)

I sent a text message to a friend earlier that simply read “Sup?”.

Now we all know this is short for “Whassup?”, which is, in turn, short for “What is up?” (which, to be truly accurate is really a shortened version of “What is going on with you?”).

And all of a sudden I had this queer urge to follow up the message with another that stated: “Actually, I was asking if you have dined yet.”  So, immediately my brain starts thinking, “Let’s sup, my dear.  Hip, hip, cheerio.”  Ha, ha, ha.  (Yeah, just imagine being inside my head.)

I am starting to think that words/phrases will continue to get shorter, until one day the entire human race will communicate using single letters, hand gestures, and primal screams.  A conversation between two friends, who greet each other and try to ascertain what their plans are, will go something like this:

“A.”

“A.”

“Wa?”

“N.”

“K.”

I mean, I am crazy obsessive about the proper use of the English language (don’t EVEN get me started on they’re, there, and their), yet even I use these truncated words and expressions.  What’s worse, if I am verbally saying “Sup?” to a friend, I have been known to occasionally bust out a strangely awkward hand gesture wherein I stab my fingers into a “east siiiide” position.  Do I honestly think this makes me urban or street?  No….  But I do it anyway!  As if someone is going to see some chubby middle aged white girl use this gesture and say, “whoa!  step off!  bitch is gonna bust a cap!”

See?  I did it again.  I don’t even know what anything in that last sentence means.

My point is: what exactly is this doing to our culture of language?  I see people use “ur” in substitution for “your” and I truly question it’s abbreviating ability.  “Ur” only eliminates TWO LETTERS.  If someone sends you a message with “ur” in it, don’t you ever wonder if they just did not care enough about you to add those two letters?  It seems lazy at the very least.

I realize that truncating words was bred from the need to shorten messages to fit in a limited character space (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, TWITTER).  But that just raises yet another issue – we have stopped communicating with people in ways that have meaning.  We use text messages and blurbs online to carry on much of the interaction we have in relationships.  I do it.  I know lots of people do it.  And when we’re forced to get our message across in a limited space, we have to cut out the parts that make the written language beautiful.  We have to cut out the parts that make our own style of communication unique to each of us.

So, although I am not necessarily going to cease using my text ability to catch up with friends, I will have this in the back of my mind when crafting messages.  Maybe my next text will be: “What’s going on today, my friend?”

🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Drew

     /  November 3, 2010

    Sup. Cool blog. Much love. -D-

    Reply
  2. Yazzy

     /  December 5, 2010

    So… that pretend dialog you had…. did you intentionally spell “wank”? lol
    Yes, its the first comment i ever leave on your wonderful blog and its something like this… its why you love me :-p

    Reply

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