Turn on, tune in, drop out. Timothy Leary would be proud. The kids gather in groups most afternoons outside Starbucks. Their heads are bowed to their phones, furiously text messaging and they barely speak to each other. One day I just may do it. Walk up to them, take their phones out of their busy hands and make them talk to each other. Is your BFF here? Then have a conversation with her in person.
An entirely different language structure has emerged in this rushed world.
There have been many articles about texting slowly eroding children's vocabulary and linguistic abilities but now there is an actual estimate given. According to Jean Gross, England's first children's communication czar, (how's that for a title?) children are communicating in abbreviated text speak and only utilize a vocabulary of 800 words on a daily basis. With fewer words at their disposal it is going to have far reaching repercussions later in life. Nothing to LOL at. Perhaps it was inevitable that people would start to communicate in acronyms. The internet itself spawned 'www' which is the only acronym that takes more time to articulate than the words the letters stand for.
A friend of mine lamented that children aren't focusing on penmanship in school. Who is writing letters anymore that penmanship needs to be mastered? It's not just children though. An e mail I received from another adult's phone was littered with so many shortened words and acronyms that it actually took me longer to read because I am not proficient in the new text speak that is masquerading as language. "R u going 2 b thr? C u l8r!" What? I eventually figured it out but in this multi tasking world does it really save people that much precious time to not spell out an entire word? Are you so pressed to shave seconds off your day that the word 'to' needs to be abbreviated? The old PBS show Zoom had a made up language that we all tried to master when we were kids. "Hub I frub ends. Dub oo yub oo knub oo whub ut thub is ub is?" The idea was to insert 'ub' in front of vowels to 'Zoom speak.' The previous statement would be "Hi friends. Do you know what this is?" At least Zoom's tongue twisters required some creative thinking.
The young adults who are only using their arsenal of 800 words are supposedly doomed when they enter the workforce according to these studies that have estimated young people can't string an acceptable sentence together with adjectives and adverbs. But if their parents are adopting the same clipped communication won't everyone meet somewhere in the middle eventually?
Years ago Kentucky Fried Chicken came up with their 'new and improved' KFC Express. Faster fast food. Is it more important to do something quickly or do something well?