Friday, September 24, 2010

From the Archive: U can has Laughs 4 UR Grammar

I'm out of town at the Writers' Police Academy, so today's post is from the blog archive. This post was originally written back in May of 2008--you know, back when the blog had maybe three viewers. So I'm bringing it for your entertainment. The post is updated slightly and now includes even more kittehs!


Admit it. You've been there. or a some other Caterday site. You've looked at the cute little animals with clever little captions because well, they make you laugh. (And if you haven't looked, you should, laughing is good for you.)

The problem becomes apparent when you think about the fact most people understand grammar intrinsically, not factually. Things sound right to the ear. But if enough people use words/phrases incorrectly, they start sounding 'right' and are eventually adopted as slang, and after enough time, slang is adopted as an evolution of the English language. That's what a living language does--it evolves.

Since the advent of instant messenger, English teachers around the states have reported a rapid degradation of proper grammar. I occasionally have to remind myself that smiley faces ^_^ and *emotes* have no place in professional correspondences. That doesn't mean I don't receive them from other 'professionals' at work sometimes.

LoLCats pictures take 'net lingo to a new level. The images are cute and funny, but if you read the forums, they are practically in another language--lolspeak. In large chunks, this stuff is worse than l33t, or at least on par. But hey, for the most part, it's easy to ignore. Until you find yourself repeating it.

It starts out innocent enough. A joke among friends or loved ones. When the DH is teasing me, I often look at him and say "But...I lubs you!" Or to tease him, I'll point to something and say "I can has that?" Amongst most of my closest friends phrases like "Why you wants that?" or "You no can has" are often said to sent via text or gchat.

All good fun. Maybe even cute at times.

Until someone outside 'the know' hears you. Or, possibly even worse, if you find yourself speaking in this terrible version of English in front of strangers.

Last year several of my closest friends and I attended a regional writers conference. When talking to other people, we used something akin to proper grammar. But, when we'd talk amongst ourselves, we'd inevitably slide into LOL, despite the fact we were still in ear shot of agents, editors, and fellow writers--not the right crowd for sure. We had to ban LOL for the weekend and we still slipped up at times. Shock collars might have been helpful.

Not good.

So, tread carefully as you laugh. Grammar no iz good trade 4 lols.

1 comment:

Lynnette Labelle said...

Oh, I'm so jealous that you're at the Writers' Police Academy. Where is that. I know Allison Brennan has done similar things and they're all on my To Do list. However, my first priority is getting to RWA next year.

Let me know how the WPA was. I'd love to have details.

Lynnette Labelle