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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Doctor Seuss Would Be So Proud!

The way of the world today is hard on the English language. Text messages filled with abbreviated slang, chat-speak, and a surprising lack of punctuation have become the secret language of the next generation. I’ve been known to send an occasional text message to my kids or my husband---but I don’t have lightning fast fingers, and I don’t know the code. My messages are choc-full of punctuation and the appropriate capitalization, while each word is completely and purposely spelled out.

My children, however, picked up their cell phones a few years ago, and haven’t put them down since. My son’s has been permanently embedded into his palm to aid in ease of speaking and messaging. He’s a silent texter. His phone barely buzzes before he’s rapidly pushing buttons and sending a few cryptic lines off into the stratosphere. He may be in communication with alien life forms at this very moment, for all I know.

On the other hand, is my oldest daughter. Her phone announces its constant presence and need for attention with songs and chirps and the voice of a very small creature begging “Let me out, I’m stuck in your pocket!” In an effort to hearken back to simpler, happier, more literate times, I have lovingly dubbed it her “
Wocket”. It is a vital tool in her hectic young life, and she sends text messages like she’s writing a new Declaration of Independence.

Recently, we sat at grandma’s table, my daughter tuning one ear to the American Idol broadcast, and the other to the dinnertime conversation. She is gifted that way. A commercial break caught my attention as it touted some wireless carrier’s unlimited text messaging package. The teenagers in the ad were playing the Scrabble board game, using chat-speak---scoring triple-word-points for ROTFL and OMGYDN. (Loose translation: rolling on the floor laughing, and Oh my gosh you did not!)

My heart went out to the mother in the ad. She was absolutely appalled at their behavior, and lamented her failures in teaching these children proper grammar and usage of the English language. The commercial faded with the exhortation to ‘text like there’s no 2MORO.” (Tomorrow.)

I watched as a look of utter confusion flashed across Sarah’s face. My motherly heart skipped a beat in my chest as a glimmer of hope shined through. When I laughed, she asked, “What! Did you get that?” I explained, with my limited chat-speak skills that she might want to eat, drink and text furiously, for tomorrow her battery might die. As she extolled me with the virtues of using punctuation and correct spelling in text messages, I knew I had cause for good cheer. Unlike the actress who may not have been a failure as a mother, but played one on television, I have succeeded in giving my children a love of proper spelling and punctuation. It was a proud moment, KWIM? (Know what I mean?)

1 comment:

Childlife said...

Bravo!! Mission accomplished! :D (I live in fear of when our now 5-year-old enters the text-message era or whatever it will have become by then... *sigh*)

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