Internet phrases infect teen speech

April 3, 2008 — by Brandon Yang and Melody Zhang

“O hai, this r intrstng stuf! Luv teh dyagramm!” commented a user on icanhascheezburger.com. The post, made about an article that analyzed the evolution of language on the web, is an accurate representation of the language teens use.

In the past few years, chatspeak has been spreading into conversations. Today’s teens were all born around the start of the Internet boom, and they grew up with electronic gadgets.

As technology has progressed from phones to e-mail to instant messaging, students’ daily language has evolved, too. As a result, their ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings fully is deteriorating. Due to the fast pace of conversations held over instant messages, conversations have become extremely abbreviated, leaving out the minutia of proper grammar.

Chatspeak admittedly does help teens loaded with homework and extracurricular activities conserve their precious few spare seconds, but they should keep in mind that how they speak online should be kept online and out of real life. A dully-remarked “lol” has much less impact than an actual spoken train of thought during a spoken conversation.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the various subjects of teen culture, chatspeak is often informal, and inappropriate. Sarcasm and hyperboles are also the basis of the new style of language. Although teens often proclaim to be “laughing out loud,” this is usually not the case for the phrases are only used as expressions.

In a few decades, the previous generations will have retired and the current generation will be in charge of most of America’s affairs. Although it might be a bit exaggerated to imagine the next Supreme Court Justice littering his or her rulings with chatspeak, such a future may become probable if nothing is done about the usage of the new language in everyone’s daily speech.

Today’s teens have grown up with this new system of communication. Now that abbreviations and terms such as “lol” have snuck into their speaking patterns, leaving out words has become a habit in all forms of writing and speaking, including schoolwork, which troubles teachers and hurts grades.

It cannot be denied that language is constantly changing, but the change is not always for the better. Advancing technology encourages students to use shortcuts, but using various abbreviations lacks depth compared to using elaborate sentences. Despite how improbable it sounds, it would be best to use chatspeak online and leave it there before people rely on it too much and forget how to express themselves fully without sounding like fools.

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