Ever since SMS speak has taken over, the poor English language has taken a beating.
If our ancestors of old were to come back from the dead and just sit in on one conversation they would surely think we had all lost our minds.
I, as a teenager, use a lot of textlish and slang everyday without even thinking about it. Words, especially when chatting online, like LOL (laugh out loud), BTW (by the way) and WYD (what you doing?) are constantly being used!
Textlish has even taken over in some schools, when it comes to kids writing exams! Apparently we use textlish and slang so often that we completely forget the real words.
This extract from fresnobeehive.com
says it all: ‘"1 yng friend of rs recently sent us a hand-ritten thank-u note. we were thrilled at 1st but her spelling wuz awful b/c deres no spellcheck for pen and ppr. same ish w/ txting. ppl get uzd 2 slang and 4get the real words."’
Textlish can be very amazing and confusing for me though and I use it – every day!
Words like ROFLMBO and LYWAMH are some of the long and confusing ones but even those become second nature eventually. If you’re wondering what those words mean, they are ‘Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Butt Off’ and ‘Love You With All My Heart’. (Don’t worry – it took me a while to figure it out too.)
Textlish is not the only ‘new’ language taking over today’s teens. Slang is rife and used ALL the time and at EVERY opportunity.
I recently had an experience where a distant relative came to South Africa from the UK and got completely lost during a group conversation. When describing my nephew we called him a ‘buffel’ and I was asked to get a ‘lappie’ to wipe the floor. It struck me then how much we (not only teenagers) have mangled the English language.
Everyone does this and most people don’t even realise it.
Here’s a list of words that teens use to explain everyday things:
Awe – versatile, can be used as a greeting or when agreeing with something
Chana - my mate (from Zulu, 'my nephew'); umshana
Cherps or Chips - "Watch out!", as in "Chips chips everyone, here comes the teacher!"
China - friend
Choon – to tell someone something
Chop – idiot
Duidelik - everything's okay
Eish! - an interjection expressing resignation
Higher grade – a bit too complicated
Hundreds – good, fine (as in 100%)
Jarre - basically GEE WHIZZ
Kif – enjoyable
Kind – girlfriend
Kwaai - in Cape Town slang this word refers to something that is really awesome, cool or nice
Kwam - enjoying the moment
Nuh – pretty much used any where and everywhere. “That was cool nuh?”
Tannie – mom
Tiep – to sleep
Toppie – “old man” or dad
Virus – annoying person
I love textlish and slang though. They make conversations much quicker and more interesting, especially if you’re discussing something that the parents shouldn’t know about. For parents who really struggle to understand what their teens are on about, someone by the name of Tony Thorne has even written a book: Dictionary of Contemporary Slang.
So 2 al u tannies and toppies out der dat cnt catch a drift, its nt higher grade – jus choon ur laaite hundreds nd go wid da flow. Kiff!
Does your teen use SMS talk? What do you think about this degradation of the English language?