If my relationship with the English language were to have a status, it would probably be “it’s complicated”. This is because, although I love correct English, I do not love some of the words and abbreviations that have come along with technology.
I cringe when I see “dunno”, “omg”, or “lol”. I despise even more the social media statuses that read “I should of” or “I seen”. As much as these drive me crazy, there are a few positives to the popularity of practicing written English because of technology.
Prior to texting, email, blogging and all of these forms of online and digital communication, what did we use? Phones. We used our voices to communicate, and because your voice doesn’t show that when you said “conscious” you spelled it “conchus”, we were not as aware of our errors or those of others. Now that we are encouraged to communicate in the written word, errors are being called out and corrected before you even have a chance to “like” the status.
Why is this a good thing? Because spelling and grammar mistakes are embarrassing and language control freaks (like me) are irritating. If someone corrects you publicly, for all to see, perhaps you will learn from the mistake. Even your phone will attempt to correct you if you are wrong. It makes you aware that you are making an error, and will try to educate you on the correct choice. Being made aware of your mistakes is the first step in overcoming them.
Practicing the English language in a setting that you understand is instrumental in developing the correct use of words. It helps us to build our comprehension of the language and it helps us to communicate better in all other aspects as well. If you learn that you have been writing something incorrectly, perhaps you will check to see if you have been saying it incorrectly as well.
As much as I might dislike the new lingo that has come along with technology, I cannot help but appreciate the new drive to communicate through writing. The English language should not be seen as an eternal stone, forever unchanged and unmoved. It should be seen as a a living, breathing thing—constantly influenced by its use and ever-growing.
The best that I can do is to edit (myself and others) when I see a mistake, and attempt to cope with the diverse and ever evolving language that I call my own.
What say you? Is technology a benefit, or a detriment, to written language?