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Friday, October 23, 2009

Anyways, whatever, lol, duh...

I would like every one of my readers to go through this article. Everyone who writes stuff like that ('yo, man, at the end of the day, that babe/dude's mindblowing/awesome...') needs to know that s/he is not being smart but simply stupid and crude, and I am not the only one who thinks that way.

As for textese, it goes without saying that I am one of those who are determined to fight the scourge all my life. Except on the mobile phone (and that too, I personally avoid doing it as much as I can), I will not tolerate the use of sms-text anywhere: anyone, but anyone, who tries that with me will be cut off and blocked for good. I don't want or need to know such people, and I don't care how many of them there are out there. They don't want to talk to me, the loss is theirs. Texters, I agree with John Humphrys, are "vandals who are doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours 800 years ago. They are destroying it: pillaging our punctuation, savaging our sentences, raping our vocabulary." They are no better people than those who enjoy mutilating children and don't bother to wash after shitting; they must be given no quarter. If that brands me as a 'conservative', I am happy to be called guilty as accused. A conservative is often a man who is convinced that something is worth conserving because it is of immeasurable value, but easily destroyed by moronic philistines who will never take the trouble to find out why and how it is valuable...


Shilpi said...

Suvro da,
The article is very interesting and some of the comments are funny – not funny ha-ha – but as in amusing and pricelessly well put.

'She is so ...like...you know...cool!" (and girls use the misplaced ‘like’ – I’ve never heard a boy/man use the misplaced ‘like’ or ‘you know’) is on the top of my list along with 'whatever', ‘awesome’ and 'totally'. I’d never understood the use of ‘freak out’ to describe dancing (I’d thought people just didn’t know what ‘freak out’ meant). The couple of times I’ve heard people say 'take a chill pill' I’ve wanted to punch the user, and for some reason the use of ‘Been there. Done that’ makes me want to pick up a pitchfork....In Bengali, ‘bawaali’ makes me see red…

On the other hand I don’t see anything horrid/wrong about ‘warm regards’, and as long as one doesn’t go overboard with the ‘take care’ – what’s wrong with using it? It’s certainly better than using the inane ‘yaa’ or ‘yo’ or ‘arre yaar’ or ‘duh’ or ending off with ‘best’! Best?! Best of what?

As for the ‘X’ representing a kiss – that has been in use for a long time and has nothing to do with terrible texting garbage.

I’m sort of surprised that ‘you’re kidding’, ‘big deal’ and ‘I say…’ don’t appear on the list (I am certainly guilty of using all three and quite generously too).

New and ‘cool’ sociology textbooks insist on using texting (of all the God forsaken things) as being an illustration of evolving language! And to that my shortest response is – Gah-bah!

And what exactly does modern usage expert David Crystal mean when he says, ‘texting encourages children towards a better knowledge of the language’? How exactly does texting foster greater knowledge? A knowledge of the language of babbling and sick idiots? But I guess he’s the ‘expert’.

Many thanks for the link Suvro da. Is the use of ‘hmmm’ acceptable in your book, by the way?
Take care.

P.S: I misread the ‘hebby’ for ‘hubby’, and was wondering when or how hubby came to mean ‘bhari’ in Bengali….

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Of course both you and I have a lot of expressions on our personal hate-lists, Shilpi, and so, I daresay, do the writers of that article. Their list, I'm sure, was only indicative, and designed for readers to think, and draw up their own lists mentally...

'hmm' is okay with me, but believe it or not, until I read that article I didn't know that an X stood for a kiss! Everybody falls out of touch sooner or later, I suppose... 'Warm regards' and 'take care' are fine, except when mindlessly and insincerely over-used. 'Best' is simply too stupid to take notice of. As a wise man said, most of these expressions are 'tired substitutes for thought'.

I have now learnt that a person can be cool because she is hot, and once upon a time you had to be an Alexander or Akbar to be called great, but these days, when you can win Nobel Prizes before you have done anything at all, everything from a dress to an evening out to a school football hero can be tagged as 'great': it's become one of those thousands of words which have been drained of all meaning.

Notice how 'emoticons' are spreading like wildfire. Using the highest of 'cool' technology, we are very rapidly going back to the days of Stone Age man, who drew pictures on walls (tellingly, they even call it a 'wall' on Facebook!) In the global slide into darkness, language will be the first of the great skills to go. The martial arts, I think, will survive longest, because they will come in handy when we are all prepared to hunt down and eat one another! Wasn't there a recent action flick about a near-future situation where all the characters are uncouth morons except for their skills at fighting and programming computers, one of the Die Hard series starring Bruce Willis, I think?

Abhirup said...

Dear Sir,
I agree with everything you have said. I also liked the article very much; it is written with a genuine sense of indignation at the mutilation of language, and the people who wrote it are absolutely right about each and every one of those fifty annoying words. I am also glad that this has been published in a major daily like 'The Telegraph', because now a large number of people will have to read an article which explicitly tells them that many of the words they use are either stupid or downright vulgar. How many of them will change their habits even after reading it is, of course, another matter.

Which brings me to the point I specifically want to make. What saddens me is the fact that men who think like you, me and John Humphrys are in a minority. The overwhelming majority of the people, especially youngsters, see nothing wrong in writing SMS text, wrong grammar and crass abbreviations. They are simply not ready to acknowledge the fact that mutilating language is a sort of crime, and only semi-literate boors would care little about being correct in speech and writing. If you say, as Humphrys has, that desecration of language is as bad as the massacres carried out by Genghis Khan, your words will be dismissed as hyperbole. If you insist on writing proper English, you will be viewed as a grumpy old man who doesn't understand 'modern' language and manners. I say this from personal experience: whenever I have voiced the opinion that SMS text is nothing short of pernicious, and that while writing anything (be it answers in an examination or orkut scraps to a friend) one must pay due attention to spelling, grammar, gender, singular/plural and things like that, I have been almost unanimously branded as a 'jyathamoshai' type who has no sense of 'fun'.

Nevertheless, educated people from all fields and at all levels must keep voicing their opinion on this matter. Corruption of language is one of the prominent signs of a decadent nation, and to save India from being one, those who know better must never stop their crusade.

With regards,

Anurupa Ganguli said...

Dear Sir,
I liked this post very much and the article delighted me. I was happy to see that so many people actually hated the sms texts and other short forms which are used by teenagers and the youth of today. I would also like to add to the list. Here's a word which I find extremely irritating - "CHAAP". Whether it is needed or not, they simply say,'arre eto chaap nish naa!' I donot understand as to why so many people are so fond of words like 'chaap'.
I also agree with Abhirup Da that how many people will change their habits will never be answered because I gave this link in my Facebook status.And Sir I was astonished that there were no readers and those who have read left no comment, which indicated that many found it too 'boring'.
But Sir, how much I wish that you would come to know of many of your pupils whom you love; actually use sms texts right under your nose! I realise how little they take in from your classes..

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Oh, I know very well, Anurupa, but I have to soldier on still, and think the best I can of people, else I could not go on!

Diptokirti said...

Dear sir,
of late the use of sms text and abuses is suposed to be extremely "cool" among people of our generation. And just because some refuse to utter such absolute nonsense they are tagged "boring". Along with the astounding depletion in linguistic qualities the present generation has also lost it's sense of actual humour and the cellphone is being used as a device to promote the most obscene and idiotic "jokes". I would thank you wholeheartedly for having shown us the actual meaning of humour.
yours sincerely

Chanchal said...

I whole heartedly agree with all things you pointed out, but you see there are times when you have to break your commitment to grammar, punctuation, spellings, etc. For instance, if I am describing in my work the conversation between a '6-class-pass' and a destitute(say), I will have to be very crude in my language!

The article was very good, and I can perceive it in a better fashion, having read Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion only recently!


Suvro Chatterjee said...

Oh, I entirely agree with you on that score, Manoshij: where a certain kind of language is not only appropriate but essential, any good writer would use it without hesitation! I call something vulgar only when it is simultaneously in bad taste and completely unnecessary... such as when teenagers use abuse as well as bad grammar and wrong spelling under the impression that it makes them 'cool'. And I rue the fact that of late it is becoming so widespread, simply because even supposedly clever and educated people have never taken the trouble to learn enough of language to love and respect it...

Partha Chatterjee said...

I liked the post a lot. This post of yours is an eye opener to all the people who just write for the sake of writing without doing justice to it. When I ask a friend of mine(who is a student of science)that why is he starting a sentence with "because"(a very common syntax error),all that i get for an answer is that this is science brother not literature!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Your friend has no idea what 'student of science' means, Partha; he is simply one of the millions of young people who blindly cram what scientists have done only to get some sort of job - and bye bye to education for life! Chances are ten thousand to one he has never read the biography of a single great scientist, nor read any book written by a scientist: he has never read anything, in fact, except cram books and note books and workbooks to pass examinations, which is what his mummy has told him education is all about!... forget about art and literature, this is the reason why there are countless students of science in this country, and hardly any scientists worth the name! We are a nation living a vast lie.

Sumitha Kurien said...

This comment is unrelated to the post, but I was reminded of this after reading Partha's comment.

I remember one afternoon, very long ago, when I was having a hot discussion with a senior in school. She was arguing in favour of the 'fact' (and I call it a big myth!) that only those students who excel at science and math are intelligent. I asked her "What about the great poets and writers?" To this she replied," They are nevertheless putting down figments of their imagination; I wouldn't call that intelligence, because they do not have to understand complicated theories per se". And I, would call that ignorance of the highest order :) But that is how we Indians are...sigh!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

I'm sure your 'intelligent' friend would never write a great book or make even a trifling scientific discovery in her whole life, nor think up a clever joke by herself, Sumitha. Let the poor creature be happy her way (shopping, watching TV, dressing up and gossipping, probably); people of that sort are too stupid even to know that they are stupid...the only sad thing is that India is rapidly filling up with such people.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

It is sad that some otherwise nice people turn me off by using sms-text in their very first communication. I wish more people would read this particular blogpost before writing to me...

Saikat Chakraborty said...

Dear Sir,

I found this article to be an interesting read-

Although not essentially a mutilation of language, the examples do show how dearly we might have to pay even if we are careless about it.