Dear foolish sheep (aka the teenagers of this generation),
I have never been so frustrated in my entire life. At what? I hear your voices cry. Your language. Yes, I know that this is your mode of rebellion. You use text language and slang to rebel against boring English teachers who make you use words like antidisestablishmentarianism, and parents who correct your pronunciation of words such as butter – “It’s bu-ttt-er, not but-urrr! Pronounce the t’s!” – but it has been taken a step too far.
The other day, I received a message via Facebook. It said (this is a direct quote):
“naw a hivnae been ae ma stinkin meetin nd a aint gona go nd u ken wht av still gt awe ma hair nd nae contacts L I AM NAE ALKI U CHEEKI B****”
I stared at this message for almost twenty minutes before I came out of shock. I then realised that no, it was not in some ancient language which had fallen out of use, but it was in fact in some ‘modernized’ form of the English language. The beautiful English language had been turned into some mutilated, maimed… MONSTER!
‘I’m going to have to do some serious translation here,’ I thought to myself in distress. I started by ignoring the fact that there was no punctuation of any sort.
That was the least of my problems.
My main problem was deciphering the nonsense this friend of mine used in place of good, old fashioned, normal English. It was easy enough to translate ‘naw’ into no, I knew that much at least. However ‘a’ was my problem. ‘A’ was normally used before a noun – for example, a lamp or a cat – yet, my gut was screaming at me that ‘hivnae’ was not a noun.
So, having no other option available to me, I put on my fake Glaswegian accent – where you talk as if your mouth only opens half an inch and don’t move your lips much – and read out the first five words.
Still didn’t get anywhere.
(Except maybe to the doctors for some pills for my sore throat.)
This led me to saying random phrases in my accent. From that exceptionally embarrassing exercise, I managed to discover that by ‘a hivnae’ she meant ‘I haven’t’. I determined this due to the fact that in a Glaswegian accent ‘I’ sounds like ‘a’, therefore, it must be one in the same. I knew that ‘nae’ meant no, so I concluded that she was trying to say ‘I’ something ‘no’. I inserted the word ‘have’ – as ‘hiv’ sounds a bit like ‘have’ – and worked out that she was saying ‘I have not’.
Do you know how bloody long it took me to work that out? Wouldn’t it have been ten times easier to write, ‘no, I haven’t’? That way, she would have received my reply within her lifetime. As it was, it took me 60 minutes in total to decipher her ‘message’ and then another 30 minutes to write a reply in the simplest English, written specifically so she could understand it. Include my 20 minutes of shock at the start, and you’ll realise that it took me one hour and fifty minutes to read, understand and reply to a message that was 32 words long.
ONE HOUR AND FIFTY MINUTES!
One hour and fifty minutes that I could have spent doing something exponentially more important… like saving the world from global warming or reading Company. It was like trying to solve some impossible physics question, or a Countdown conundrum.
Now, I’d like you all to take my point very seriously…
Stop speaking like morons just because you’re friends do it. It isn’t cool, it isn’t funny, just annoying and pathetic. It will become a habit, you’ll end up speaking like this for the rest of your life.
Imagine it, you’re at a job interview in a few years time, you‘ve just left school…
“Hello, [insert name here], can you please tell us why we should hire you a part of the IKEA sales team?” The well-dressed, scary-looking manager asks you.
“Wel am urr well gid wif ppl, like, m8. Ya ken I kin lyk just talk tae them nd we’d pure get along, lyk, pal. Ya git it? Nd I’m like…”
“I’m sorry, but I cannot understand a word you are saying. I could never employ you here.” The woman says slowly – clearly she thinks you are illiterate. “Get. Out. Of. My. Office. Now.”
That would be you, forever unemployed. All because as a teenager, you followed the trends and spoke like a Ned. You’re going to be forever haunted by the ghost of your teenage years, like Heathcliff is haunted by Catherine.
Stop now, while its not to late.
Yours sincerely (mate),
PS. This hid betta, like, ttly win, mate, or am gunna be pure ragin, man. This is bangin, pal, just sick. Ud betta no be stupid nd no lit me win.