Technology has virtually brought the whole world at our fingertips. What used to take hours earlier can be done in minutes now! Every new innovation is aimed at getting the maximum done in the minimum time, with little or no exertion. If this is true then enough time is saved. But when I look at messages posted on social networking sites, particularly on Facebook or WhatsApp, I feel that people are so occupied that they hardly have the time to spell a word completely. I don’t know if it’s just me or there are other people out there who get completely irked by the way words are spelt. It just makes me feel that the words are just there, but they don’t have any emotions in them.
Right from very earlier times, hand-written letters were much valued because beyond words, they carried emotions. These letters were preserved and re-read several times over, and perhaps every single time, they evoked the same emotions. Whether it was from father, mother, or from aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings—each letter had a different story to tell. Alas! Technology has taken away all of that. Now, we don’t need postmen to send messages across; there are several channels for that. Not just the concerned person, the whole circle of family and friends get the same message simultaneously when we post in any social networking site. Yes, that’s amazing and something we wouldn’t have imagined even 15 years back. I am not complaining as I am irked by something else and even that is related to the development of technology.
When I see the spellings of words used in social networking sites, I get totally peeved. Consider these words – wid (with), d (the), enuf (enough), np (no problem), HBD (Happy Birthday), tnx (thanks), xpress (express), Xing (crossing), k (okay), s (yes). The list is exhaustive.
People who send messages with words spelt like these are supposedly so busy that they don’t have the time to type out that extra alphabet, but they don’t realise that they are making it difficult for those who read it. The worst of these, according to me is HBD. If we really care to wish a person, we would definitely find the right words. I would rather spend my birthday without wishes from such people. I am more agitated because this way of spelling words has an adverse impact on the generation that is just learning to spell.
My son, all of 4, wants to know the spelling of everything he sees. He tries to read hoardings and advertisements put up on the streets when we go out. So, when he comes across a word, say, Xing and asks me what word it is, I am not sure if I should tell him it is crossing, because that is the spelling that gets registered in his brain and even on an occasion when he sees the right spelling, he will be confused. Do we even realise the gravity of the situation?
We are so engrossed in our world of ‘saving time’ that we don’t realise the spill-over effects that such practices can bring forth. It’s time we give it a thought and correct ourselves. After all, we live in an automated world—what are we going to do in that one second that we save from typing out the correct spelling of a word…just curious! I know that we are not native speakers of English, but we cannot underscore the importance of the language in our everyday life, particularly professional life.
Sometimes, I dread that in 10 years or so what if books and newspapers pick up this trend? Perhaps then, I will have to bid adieu to my love for reading. Wait! Will there be printed newspapers and books in the next decade? Who knows? Only time will tell.