MIDWAY: E-mail etiquette

Hi fren, how r u? Hope u 2 B fine.” My friend always starts his e-mail in such a ludicrously truncated language. His messages are full of lackadaisical spellings, shoddy grammar and abandoned punctuations which are extremely difficult to comprehend.

Ironically, my friend is not a high school dropout, as his linguistic errors would suggest. He is pursuing Masters’ in English literature at the University of Durham in England. So the typographical errors are just the resultant of the breakneck speed with which he types. Nevertheless, his casual writing greatly exemplifies the post-modern sense of linguistic shortcuts extensively used in the internet.

I am a bit of a purist at heart and such a destructive diversion of standard English language upsets me. By typing just r for are, u for you and 2 for to, my intellectual friend might save himself one or two keystrokes, but this has made him look like a five-year-old writing with crayons. I also believe such abbreviated messages are quite impersonal.

It is no hidden fact that constant chatting has destroyed the people’s aptitude to write correctly. A neighbour tells me that his ten-year computer-savvy son often replaces i instead of ‘I’ and u instead of ‘you’ during assignments. So such destructive diversion of language can be really misleading.

I am not totally against using emoticons in e-mails but when misused they can be very agonizing. One of my friends is so fond of such lurid emoticons that once while informing me about his grandpa’s demise, he had chosen a red rose to start with! I felt it totally embarrassing. Moreover, his message in uppercase seemed as if he was shouting loudly.

Internet has surely made communication better, convenient and faster. But I don’t think this can compensate for the linguistic damage. Though the arrogant shortcuts may be more convenient for instant messaging, they implicitly cultivate a kind of stupidity within us. Such pathetic practice further deteriorates our acumen.

Famous scientist Thomas Elva Edison once said: “There is no shortcut for anything that is worth going.” Our abbreviated approach to online typing needs to be seriously reassessed.