Saturday, 20 February 2010

OMG: down wth txtspeak b4 I PMSL. LOL!!!


Text language in general is a source of constant irritation to me. Any action that demonstrates laziness immediately gets on my nerves. The concept that life is easier in a world of barely comprehensible English, all for the sake a saving a few seconds, is nothing short of plain wrong.

However, I know the tide is going against me. I can no longer uphold my policy of refusing to reply to messages or emails written in pigeon - sorry ‘text’ - English. I might now acknowledge it, but I don’t have to like it.

My real gripe centres on how moronic it makes the user sound. Every time I see “C U l8r” I imagine someone in a padded cell munching on a crayon. Contrary to what many older people think, it’s not an age thing. Some of us younguns are card-carrying members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to English. But we’re in the minority.

Despite my best intentions, I find myself sometimes writing BRB, NP and so on. On the flipside abbreviated swearing does at least have the handy benefit of sneaking past email filters. I can safely type: “WTF was so and so doing? FFS!” to my friends’ work email addresses without fear of getting them into any trouble with the profanity monitors downstairs in IT.

“I don’t think I actually involuntarily laugh out loud more than once a month.”

All of these linguistic infractions are minor irritations which pale into insignificance compared to the most annoying of them all: LOL.

I didn’t realise that the internet, along with completely revolutionising how we obtain information and communicate with others, also made every single thing in the entire world funny. Not just mildly amusing, bring a smirk to your face, or even a gentle chortle but LAUGH OUT LOUD funny.

I’m not an especially miserable person but I still don’t think I actually involuntarily laugh out loud more than once a month, at most. Maybe I’m moving in the wrong circles and need to urgently start associating with people so titillating that once around them I am totally incapable of controlling my desire to guffaw.

So, it amazes me that everyone else, according to their typing, is perpetually in a state of rolling around the carpet, tears streaming down cheeks, because life is just that bloody hilarious.

Then a few days ago, somehow, it actually got worse. Through my favourite social networking site I started to see, along with the veritable plethora of LOLs, a smattering of PMSLs - always written after statements that were in no way comic. It slowly but steadily increased. Finally curiosity got the better of me and I looked it up on the miraculous internet.

PMSL = Pissing My Self Laughing.

New lows, people. It wasn’t bad enough to give the world the mental image of the masses permanently impersonating hyenas. No, now we have widespread incontinence to add to that. The executives at Tenna are probably reserving brand-spanking new Caribbean villas in gleeful anticipation.

I know we’ve all been guilty of thoughtlessly using language. Who hasn’t gone out on a Friday night and got ‘shit-faced’? Think about that picture that conjures up in your mind’s eye for a moment. At least a loss of bladder control is marginally less disgusting.

What really irks me is this totally over the top habit, which seems to have infiltrated our English, of exaggerating everything. Now, even the most mundane of statements seems to require an exclamation mark! It makes any old sentence more exciting and shocking! So for something slightly genuinely exclamation-worthy you’ll need three of them!!! Followed by a capitalised OMG in there too - just to make sure you got the message across!

It’s got so bad that now the sight of the triple exclamation mark fills me with such disgust that I can feel my angry vein twitching in my temple. Highly unbecoming, I can assure you.

Why don’t people realise that hyping up every syllable we utter only serves to devalue the words themselves? What are we now supposed to say for those rare and beautiful moments in life that are incredibly, almost-to-the-point-of-beyond-words funny? All the usual terms have been used up and worn out on a bunch of stuff which at best was only mildly amusing.

So please, for my sake, let’s keep laughter special. We’re not a nation of laughing gas addicts so can we kindly stop communicating as though we are? Read more by Rosie.