Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
Blog powered by Typepad

« Setting Goals: The Reading List | Main | That Good Night »

June 15, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Seriously, I hate it. I'm on it, and I hate it. And not just for the Bad English. No, if I want Bad English, I can surf Live Journal accounts where slamming strings of random letters on the keyboard has come to signify great meaning, though what meaning is apparently the reader's guess. No, I hate FB because of the inanity of the conversations and its time-eating quality. Not that I don't waste enormous quantities of time on the internet. I just prefer not to do it in the sort of small talk Facebook facilitates. How it works for anyone is beyond my ken. Obviously, I am not jumping on the Twitter bandwagon for similar reasons. I would have to have someone else do the small talk interpretation for me, and that defeats the purpose, as I understand it.

I like how you respond to "ax." I wish I could get away with the same.

Quirky Mom

I will confess to using "r u" for text messages via my non-QWERTY cell phone, but when I've got a keyboard I stick with full spelling, capitalization, and punctuation unless there's some extenuating circumstance. I do loosen up my grammar in casual internet contexts, however.

The "ax" pronunciation is an old one, nothing new, FYI.


OSM, you've opened up the proverbial can of worms for me with this post! As someone who has made a living from the English language, I have to say that the bowdlerized version of it that permeates America's youth is horrifying to me. Too many of them have lost the ability to determine which type of language is appropriate for which audience, something that they should have learned long before they left high school!


Oh,I'm guilty of dat bad english, but tis, partly for the humour factor. Sometimes people write the way that they speak too...I'm new to facebook and unemployed so I have spent far too much time on it. I'm now limiting myself to an hour at a time. But do note that the number of hours remain unspecified! I am concerned about the bad language used sometimes as I have a 12 year old friend on my facebook.

The Goldfish

It's funny to hear Americans talk about people abusing language when of course, we Brits feel our language is on loan to you and get regularly disgruntled when you misspell or change the meaning of words - let alone when you make up new ones! We could ask for it back, you know, then where would you be?! ;-)

In fact, I've always liked accents and enjoyed dialectical differences between regions and countries. One of the things I love about TV drama The Wire is the way kids in Baltimore use English in a way which is as different from my own as that of medieval poetry. And that's fascinating to me - the fact it is still comprehensible, even when all the rules are broken.

But txt, I hate. For one thing, used on-line, it is pretty inaccessible; text-to-speech software can't read it properly, people with reading impairments (like me) will have more trouble with it than regular English and of course, people for whom English is a foreign language are likely to struggle as you say...


It reminds me of the book 1984, how language got simpler and simpler until people were reduced to few words or one word. (After watching a movie with my husband last night, I am pretty sure this one word will be "f*," said with any kind of emphases, to mean anything.)

In American black English or in some small towns, "aks" instead of "ask" can be a dialect variation. Reversed phonemes are called metathesis, and while I've made linguistic/phonemic errors because of cognitive issues under stress, people will do it sometimes if they've not had it pointed out and don't hear that they're saying it differently from what's written. There are a lot of neologisms that are wrong but that are becoming increasingly common as others hear them and replicate them--I dread the day that they will be entered in the dictionary as alternate meanings or new words!


I'd also like to say I think that using nonstandard English (I don't mean writing text language in other contexts) is fine in informal contexts and some formal ones too (Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" wouldn't have the same effect otherwise). But regional/dialectical differences are consistent and follow regular rules, unlike individual mistakes and some of the neologisms/newer usage errors.

One Sick Mother

I have to admit to being a Facebook junkie. it has actually brought me closer to many of my far-flung friends and family.

The English thing: Yes it is very pervasive. And I think a lot has to do with how English is taught in school. My daughter is 9. The other day she wanted to write "Daddy cutted the grass" I tried to explain that the past tense of "cut" is "cut". Nope. She wasn't having any of it. We finally settled for "Daddy mowed the lawn". I wonder if she will be saying "cutted" in High school?

Yes it is understandable when using a non-QWERTY phone. What bugs me is when people write long posts on blogs and messageboards and yet still insist on doing it. I really have a hard time taking such posts (and the people who wrote them) seriously.

As for the "ax" thing. I know it is not new, but neither is is a centuries old tradition. What gets me is EVERY time I here it, I think of "The Shining"....

I think you have hit the nail on the head. It wouldn't be too bad if it was compartmentalized, but to apply it generally is a sin, IMO.

Yes I often do it for effect, meself. Is this your subtle way of telling me to tone down me language on Facebook? ;)

hehe I'm not American. I just live here. I was born and raised in Ireland, so I was taught what you might call The Queen's English (although being a (peaceable) Republican, I would never call it that!) Yes colour, mould, foetus, lorry, lift, ...all that good stuff. I don't have a problem with geographic differences in dialect. Indeed, I could probably still turn the Dublin accent on very strongly and flummox quite a few of my friends.

But as you say, the spoken and written word have always been different. Hanging participles are perfectly acceptable in the spoken language but are frowned upon in the written word. The same goes -in large part to dialect, although it is often used for effect and realism in fiction (think Irving Welsh). However if the purpose is to communicate; -especially to communicate fact, then one should use the more accepted norms and avoid miscommunication and confusion, IMO.

And the text thing... well you know my opinion there!

You know, I never read 1984. I should put it on my list!

So you are saying "aks" is like my daughter's "cutted"? (not that I don't correct her, but I think she needs to hear the correction at school -that's just how her little Aspie brain works)

And as to the day it is added to the dictionary... well, I just hope that never happens.



I should reread it--it's been a very long time! Probably it is like your daughter's "cutted"--I remember making lots of mistakes like this when I was younger. Often I wish colleges taught more English classes--a semester of grammar and sentence diagramming in addition to the writing courses. And literature in addition to those.

The comments to this entry are closed.