Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, May 01, 2008


letz tok bout rytin lyk diz.
Firslty, how many of you actually got that? Secondly, it took several moments longer to type that I'd like. Thirdly, very unusual to pronounce. Fourthly, it just doesn't make sense.

It just so happens that several weeks ago, I came upon this piece of text that my friend sent me over MSN. It just so happens that that particular friend was as confused about the piece of text as I was. The reason behind it? You guessed it. It was in the fabled internet language, that is quite popular among the masses, these days. This fabled language, however, completely eludes me with the same zeal that I elude it.

Evolution is something that can't be avoided. By anyone. Or anything. All things are subject to its effect. Animals, humans, plants, electronics, emotions, and yes, language. From sticks and stones, to breaking bones, to words never hurting- er… See? Evolution of the thought stream. Over the years (measured in centuries) language has taken quite a lot of forms. Pictures and symbols. Symbols are what we're stuck with, at the moment. One wonders which is more complex- the hieroglyphic languages of the ancient civilizations, or what you're reading at the moment.

So, the symbol that we're stuck with- it, too, is subjected to evolution. Big words become short, comfort being the chief motivation. Citing a common example- “internet” to “net”- This makes sense, somehow, arbitrarily. Of course, there's evolution, and there's perversion.

In the world of the wide wide web, there are such people who likes to 'ryt lyk diz'. The primary reason given for writing like that is that it saves keystrokes. Over the years (measured in the standard year), this has evolved, gained widespread international attention, and is now generally used all over the world by generally everyone- young, old, dead or alive, you name it. In fact, it has garnered so much attention, that some people are trying very hard to make it popular in the real world, too… Say when writing essays, poems, job application, and even exam papers.

But, it's alright for us, who aren't acquainted with this. (There's this site, though. It's called Netspeak Guide. I have no idea what it does, how it does what it does, or even why it does what it does. I don't want to know. But, it's there.) It's not something that's an absolute must to get good grades, or good jobs. There are several hundreds and hundreds of slangs commonly used these days. One of the most commonly used, and the most annoying one is- LOL. It means Laugh Out Loud. And it reeks of lies and deception. I have seen people use that acronym several times in a single sentence. Several hundreds of times in a chat session. In fact, some people use the acronym as the answer to all the questions of life, universe and everything else. And that, my friends, is whack.

In fact, most of the netspeak words are acronyms. Acronyms of common phrases, I'll admit. But, acronyms nonetheless. SDYUWIAS? And I just asked, “So do you understand what I'm saying?” Of course, not. Shortening of words is okay, to an extent. But, only to an extent. And such an extent that is. Beyond that, it just shouldn't be done. You'd be labeled n00b (1337 Sp34k for newbie (Leetspeak, short of Elitespeak) form. Leetspeak is an alternate name for Netspeak), and people who try to show you the correct path would be labeled uptight and what not.

Some netspeaking people look down on normal speaking people, accusing them of being nerds and weird. Although, it makes me wonder when literacy became the synonym for nerd or weird. It's not our fault that we know how to spell correctly, use proper punctuations and so on. It's not our fault that we can string letters to form actual words with actual meanings. It's just the way we brought ourselves up. Knowing that making spelling mistakes. Is bad. Very bad.

When you come right down to it, saving those few keystrokes are as pointless as killing a harmless little red ant devoid of piperidin. Really. How many fraction of a second does it take to press one little key? If there was some way of measuring it, I would do it, and let you know. But, I can't be bothered, because whatever it is, it's insignificant and pointless. Saving those keystrokes isn't going to save the world. On the other hand, it may make you look like a n00b when you're on forums or someplace. There's no point sinking that low.

Bottom line- It's not cool. It's the farthest thing from cool. In fact, the only person who can make it look cool is Chuck Norris. And you are, most definitely, NOT Chuck Norris. Hence, you are not cool. Ergo, it can't be cool. Vis-a-vis, netspeak isn't cool. Concordantly, netspeak is just impossible to be cool.

criusly jst stay awy 4rm it dnt mek urself luk dum

By Emil


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star