Saturday, 29 January 2011

Murder of the English Language

This is the second post with murder in the title but I assure you I am not a psychopath. Anyway, I have been thinking about this subject off and on for quite some time but I have finally decided to write about it after I read the following comments on Yahoo India in response to a news item about the Arushi murder case:

  • Oh defntly d parnts. God wl nevr 4giv u bloody murderer. How kud u kill ur own child. My gosh!!! M jus stunnd... I jus wish Arushi's soul 2 rest in peace & I hope dat she gets justic vry soon...
  • i hav a question 2 arushi'z parents...y are u not pleading for justice for ur daughter???
    werz d got @#$% justice???
  •  malini i feel u have a point.i too have these question in mind which is unanswered.
    I dnt understand when we being the individuals can think of so many questions with only knowing what they tell us without even knowing the complete truth hw do they work? Exactly abt internet the router was switched off at 3 am y ? wat it is concerned with the killer to net being offed or on. Until its some one from home to be concerned for it.
This blog entry is not about the tragic murder of Arushi and the events which followed but about the murder of the English language which is being committed in full public view. Thankfully, most of the other comments were closer (but not always close enough) to standard English than the ones quoted above.

I wonder why many Indians write like this online. Is it really so difficult / inconvenient / unnecessary to write simple, grammatically-correct sentences with reasonably good spelling? I do understand that there are many Indians who do not know this language very well but that does not explain the kind of  deliberate mis-spellings and incoherent sentences like the ones above. And I'm nt talkin abt SMSs & tweets, both of which offr vry ltd spac 4 msgs : ) I don't know about you but dis and dat in particular really get my goat; does it take too much effort to write this and that?

 To me it is akin to a candidate for a job going for the interview with unkempt hair and dressed in a scruffy shirt, torn trousers and dirty shoes; he would make a very bad impression on the interviewer and might not get the job even though he might be very good at what he does. Similarly, such slapdash writing leaves the reader with a poor impression of the writer and he might not even feel like reading all that has been written. 

But let me give them the benefit of doubt; maybe there are good reasons why they write the way they do. Here are a few possibilities that I can think of:

  • Some people lead extremely busy lives and omitting a few letters saves them a few seconds each day.
  • There are some who type with only one or two fingers, so leaving out a few characters here and there saves them a lot of time and energy.
  • Maybe they are simply rebelling against the arbitrary way in which English words are spelt and want to turn it into a phonetic language like Hindi and Spanish; so they write wud, cud and bcoz instead of the weird manner in which the dictionaries spell them.
  • It is a conspiracy by Pakistan's ISI.
  • It is a Chinese conspiracy to undermine Indians' knowledge of English.
If you can think of any other equally plausible explanations please leave them in the Comments section below.

End of rant.

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