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Loony Lingo

Emerging trend among India's youth to write custom made English.

The Writer Community: “Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

Makes sense - especially because most people just scan through printed/typed material. However, I’m seeing a trend -especially with youngsters in India- in e-mails. Some of the things that gives me a head-ache are:

  1. Using only small letters. Still worse is older generation in India - they prefer all upper case letters! However, when you tell them it is considered shouting, they correct themselves.
  2. Swallowing letters. eg: thx, answr, frm, tbl for thanks, answer, from, table. Are they so tired to type few extra letters?
  3. Phonetic writing. eg: ur, cu, bi... for your, see you, bye.

I’m not saying that English is the greatest language. Each language has its own peculiarities and rules. In fact, a language is nothing more than an accepted set of standards. Whole point of a language is to make sure the other people understand you. Why unnecessarily complicate matters for others?

It is such a demotivator to read such e-mails, especially when you read these in a mailing list or a newsgroup. Personally, I loose all my interest to reply!

There is a personal interest for me regarding this. In college, Digital Signal Processing was my favourite subject (in those days, good paying jobs in DSP were scarce in India); and speech processing was my speciality. Any non-phonetic language is difficult to process; now you add these variations, it becomes truly messy:-)

  1. Forgive my naivity, but...

    Processing speech as text, or processing speech sound patterns through audio analysis?

    Posted by: DeanG on September 22, 2003 12:23 PM
  2. Sound patterns through audio; essentially converting phonemes-to-dictionary words mapping (similar to speech recognition), compression and decompression, reconstruction back to speech...

    Posted by: Babu on September 22, 2003 12:34 PM
  3. Unfortunatly this isn't just an occurance in India, I've seen many of the young folks mangle English in mailing lists and newsgroups.

    Posted by: David Kearns on September 22, 2003 01:31 PM
  4. '"L33T" Speak Invades Schools'


    Posted by: DeanG on September 22, 2003 02:27 PM
  5. Ahha.... if this bothers you..... then this should too...... because I just hate it...... Looks like a lot of guys have forgotten how to finish a sentence ..... with a full stop.... They keep on joining sentences using this "....."

    For god sake, have a clear idea what you want to say, say it precisely and get done with it.

    Posted by: Srijith on September 22, 2003 05:20 PM
  6. Heh heh - when I get to musing mood (hey, I'm an INTJ and Piscean), I do that. Perhaps once in a page, not more!

    Another great trend is the use of 'etc.' by techies in spoken language. Instead of saying "point a, point b, point c etc.," they say "point a, etc., etc., etc.". Drives me nuts.

    There was this story about a really bad candidate who appeared for IAS interview. He couldn't answer anything. Exasperated, the interview panel asked him to name Pancha Pandavas. The candidate's eyes gleamed and he exclaimed that he knew this one. Answer: "Yudhishtira; his brother, a third guy; then another guy and then there was a last guy" :-)

    Posted by: Babu on September 22, 2003 06:57 PM
  7. Oops! I see that my comment (#2) ends with ...

    Posted by: Babu on September 22, 2003 07:01 PM
  8. I just mentioned the "no uppercase" style issue here:

    It refers to a page where someone went to a lot of trouble to make a zoomable GUI, presumably in order to make the text more readable, but then they used only lower case letters in that text! Sheesh.

    Posted by: Doug L. on September 26, 2003 02:10 AM