How 140 Characters are Destroying the English Language

Content Warning: Foul mouthedness ahead.

I’m not going to spout facts here, because, frankly, I don’t have any. I can’t tell you definitively that the digression of the English language is related to anything more than people’s ignorance.

But this is America, and that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

You see, I work in retail.

I talk to people all the time. It’s my job. But my hobby is writing, and whenever I talk to people, in the back of my mind I’m judging them. Yes, you read that right. I’m judging them. Even though the Bible tells me not to. I’m listening to how they are speaking, and I’m rolling my figurative, imaginary eyes.

How can people speak without a grasp of the language they are speaking?!?

As I said, I don’t have facts here. Just a theory. I suspect a partial cause of the devolving of our mother tongue boils down to two things: cell phones and the 140 character limit.

Each of these may well have had an irreversible impact on our language. Just think about it. Sure, cell phones now have touch screens and a full qwerty keyboard. But when texting became popular, we had T9 and limited texting plans. We had the necessity to shorten phrases like “laugh out loud” to LOL. Of course, now, we have no such limits (or most of us don’t, at any rate). Yet we still say SRSLY instead of “seriously.” We still say BTW instead of “by the way.” And I don’t even know what the f*** WTF means (JK).

On top of that, when things like Twitter became popular, we were met with the need to leave words out to say what we wanted to say to meet the 140 character limit, leaving sentence structure beyond mutilated. Sentences such as, “I really, seriously, have to poop right now, and it is making me laugh out loud, are you sh*tting me,” became, “I RLY, SRSLY, have to 💩 RN, and it is making me LOL, RU💩ME?” (Mind you, I didn’t bother to count characters, and I may have made up an abbreviation).

And don’t get me started on Emoji (go see the Emoji Movie, in theaters Friday… RU💩ME?)…(or maybe go read the Emoji Bible…yeah, that might be better for me). I’ll admit, Emoji can be fun to send out, but when on 🌎 did it become acceptable to incorporate Emoji into conversation? I get these damn things in emails, now. From work.

And I haven’t even gotten to made-up words yet, have I?

Oh, now I have.

I can’t complain about all made-up words. I mean, Shakespeare made up words. Words we use every day, like “countless” and “compromise.” But these days I hear everyone making up words. Words like “combinated” and other things that Siri won’t let me type (because they are wrong).

So where did we lose sight of our language, and the respect for speaking it and writing it properly? Like I said, I have no proof, but I’m damn certain that the 140 character limit and T9/text message limits had a part to play. But now that we live in a limit-free society, can we PLS- I mean please- get back to spelling things out, using proper grammar, and the Oxford comma? Can we replace 💩 with “sh*t” and 🤒 with “I’m sorry, but I can’t come in today because I’m feeling sick”? At the very least, if you are going to send 😱, you could at least send:

Cause that’s how I feel every time I read SRSLY instead of seriously. Dude, seriously.