Fiona @ lovefibre and I have often discussed the worrying decline of language used in many comments and postings on the web. Sometimes people are using compressed txtng language or even leetspeak, both of these are reasonable alternative codes to ‘proper’ English, and potentially part of the natural growth of the language. However, it is often clear that the cause is ignorance not choice. One of the reasons may be that many more people are getting a voice on the Internet; it is not just the journalists, academics and professional classes. If so, this could be a positive social sign indicating that a public voice is no longer restricted to university graduates, who, of course, know their grammar perfectly …
Earlier today I was using Google to look up the author of a book I was reading and one of the top links was a listing on ratemyprofessors.com. For interest I clicked through and saw:
“He sucks.. hes mean and way to demanding if u wanan work your ass off for a C+ take his class1”
Hmm I wonder what this student’s course assignment looked like?
and a little web-usability tag story
- In case you think I’m a complete pedant, personally, I am happy with both the slang ‘sucks’ and ‘ass’ (instead of ‘arse’!), and the compressed speech ‘u’. These could be well-considered choices in language. The mistyped ‘wanna’ is also just a slip. It is the slightly more proper “hes mean and way to demanding” that seems to show general lack of understanding. Happily, the other comments, were not as bad as this one, but I did find the student who wanted a “descent grade” amusing 🙂 [back]
- Yes, that was a sentence starting with a conjunction. And, yes, you may have heard this is bad grammar, but only when used carelessly; see “Grammar- Starting a Sentence with Or, And or But” @ Suite101 or “Beginning a Sentence with And or But” for an apposite quote.[back]