Monday, 20 August 2007

Spelling Snobbery

Most people that know me will know how much I abhor the world of the txtspkr. But more than that, it's the really, really bad spelling that gets to me too.

I'm over on Facebook and I admit to getting carried away playing the never ending movie quiz. But the questions on there, some are written in a truly terrible way, without any grammar or even knowledge of spelling. But what bothers me most is that they don't seem to care that the spelling is so horrendous. All of the questions are user submitted and none are checked in any way shape or form.
Today I had these wonderful cases, amongst others:
Instead of 'psychic' they wrote - sycic.
Instead of 'Who's this' they wrote - whoz diis.
Instead of 'Cinderella' they wrote - cindarrela.
Instead of 'Lucy' they wrote - loosey.

What really unnerves me is that it's somehow cool to not spell, or to not use a dictionary. I know I have a passion for words that isn't always shared and that I am a stickler for spelling.
These days I find myself amazed if someone knows the differences between their, there and they're. Or between your and you're.

I do so loathe txtspk. I hate to see 'ur' or 'm8' or the equally dreadful like. We have this beautiful language that we destroy and I don't understand it. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I just wish that real words would come back into fashion. What also bugs me (I'm almost done) is the deliberate misspellings. Why write 'fer' instead of 'for'? It's the same amount of letters! It's cool, not kool, just as it's school, not skool.

None of us write or type without spelling mistakes, my grammar leaves a lot to be desired as my knowledge of colons and semi-colons and where they belong isn't great. But isn't it worth at least trying to get it right?

This probably makes me a pedant. And I'm fine with that.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! It's obvious that words will undergo some degree of semantic shift over the course of time, and that various colloquialisms will rise and fall, but this total lack of respect for words and the integrity of language is almost the opposite of that process. Languages do and will 'evolve' as they are truly organic: the 'life' of a word/language is inextricably linked to that of its user, but what you are describing is akin to the annihilation of both words and their habitat - grammar. What use is a word that has lost all sense of signification? It becomes that 'chocolate teapot' I'm always hearing about. Words are the heart of our human condition made flesh - how can they be anything less than sacred, and how can the sacred be trodden underfoot in this manner? We have some deep, deep problems in a society where language is treated thus.
I was teaching Medieval Literature at a certain University a couple of years ago. All of my students were either second or final year undergraduates. Their grammar and spelling was, generally, as shocking as you describe here. These students now hold degrees in English Language and Literature from a very respectable University - they should never have been admitted to such an institution in the first place.
This isn't just an issue for old grumblers to bang on about I believe that you and I are both in our thirties.

Hope all's well with you?
Very best wishes,

Flibbertigibbet said...

You're quite right, I'm definitely in my thirties and feeling more and more like one of those old grumblers!
I've always been one of those people that notices spelling mistakes.
A chinese takeaway a few villages away recently sent leaflets round my village and announced proudly on its front that all food was 'freshly cyooked'. It was in bold. Did no one notice, or isn't it important?

I question business website with poor spelling, if they don't care enough about their appearance how will they care about my business?

I feel like an outsider for even caring about it any more! I know they say, if you can't beat them, join them.
But I can't!

Mr_Moonlight said...

As another thirty something 'Old grumbler' I have to say I agree with both of you. Why is it people feel the need to dissect the language and reduce it down? This doesn't only occur in written language as my nephew proudly told me the other day that he was going out to play 'wiv his bruvver Nafen' (Nathan). I sincerely hope my cringe was not visible.

That said I have an overwhelming urge to confess that I do indulge, whilst writing online, in using some abbreviated emotives (LOL etc...).

But that is as close to Joining them as I wish to get.



Domster1974 said...

Words are abused for sure.

I do try my best to not only sound coherant, but also literate. I am actually quite proud that I can speak fairly well and type to a good english standard.

Yet my grammar can let me down, and I do sometimes struggle between Effect and Affect, but life is full of ambiguousness.

Text speak is baffling as if surely takes longer to learn this new form of language than a language you have been taught all of your life.

And how much time does it really save? Most text messages that I get in this form, it is normally only a sentence long, and it takes me an age to read it. I clearly use too many words, when a few can easily be used.