How r u? U OK?
Somewhere back in the 90s one of the versions of MS Word included a built-in spellchecker that finally, actually, really worked. While typing, any misunderstood word gets instantly highlighted, and better yet, some clear tpyos even get automatically corrected. There was being grammar checker too, but it not working as good, unless, of course, you write a “fractured sentence” (an error description that is truly on a par with PC Load Letter).
God Microsoft gave us spellcheck, all became better. Peace and prosperity ruled the land. And we started getting lazy. Very lazy. Just as the spreadsheet killed the need for learning math, spellcheck apparently killed the need for learning how to spell. Both of these are a shame in my eyes, as I enjoy both activities, and as a very slightly (ok fine) somewhat geeky kid, I really excelled at both back in my day.
With the surge of popularity of both instant messaging and online chat rooms in the later 90s, another blow to English arose. In IM-land you can have a quick conversation about anything, and nobody’s paying attention to a little typo hree or tehre. You’d have to really utterly manggle (sp?) a word for your conversation partner to say anything, and that assumes they recognized the mistake. With IM, some form of “Quickie” English began to emerge, where phrases like LOL, LMAO, IMHO, BRB, gained a lot of popularity.
Quickie English gets even better (or is that worse?) when it comes to texting. When texting, not only aren’t you getting feedback on a mispelt word, thanks to technology like T9 you might accidentally insert the wrong word into your sentence. But don’t worry, it’s just a text, who cares, right? A recent study shows all this Quickie English might be causing some problems to Old Fashioned Written English.
I’m a fairly traditional person, but I am also one to know languages evolve over time. For example, the word “connection” was spelled “connexion” through the first half of the 20th century. Read books authored in the 18th or 19th century (sorry, e-books and audio-books on your iPod are not acceptable substitutes for this exercise), you’ll find all kinds of minor variations on common words. Should the next edition of Webster’s include definitions for R, U, and LOL? If these “words” are here to stay, then yes, language should evolve. It must.
Update: I really wanted to find a way to link to this post, one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long long time, but I just couldn’t find a way to fit it in context. But it does fit, somehow. So, call it a non-sequitur, and just accept “cheezburger” into your spell-check dictionary, ok?