“I, like, had this amazing time this weekend”.
“like, he didn’t know how to do a simple thing…”.
” this is, like, the only way to do it. Lol”.
” she’s totally going to call you!”.
” I just studied for 2 hours lol”.
” he’s going to call you in total fashion”.
“idk becoz it’s like that!”.
“Is she/he like, for real?”.
‘like’, ‘lmao’, ‘idk’, ‘totally’, ‘yolo’, ‘lol’, ‘lmfao’ and an increase in salty language and/or public profanity assume we’re all in this together since they’ve become casual.
time was when ‘damn’, ‘hell’ or ‘shit’ couldn’t be found in the dictionary except for its literal meaning. even today when I write the word ‘rape’ the spell check changes it to ‘tape’ every time. it simply refuses to type ‘rape’. and forget about the word ‘negro.’ when I was writing about 12 years a slave or the role of history in some races, spell check refused to type ‘negro’. spellcheck also refuses to type words like slut, giving me smut instead, and I must constantly double and triple check before publishing anything.
our culture is very forward thinking compared to most, and not only in langauge. we have taken first place in cinema from the french, italians, and russians who turned out great masters of directing and great cinema. we’ve included same sex in our equality values. we’ve embraced differences like no other country would: we don’t ban or make laws preventing others from donning hijabs, saris, yarmulkes, crosses etc or freedom of speech, and on top of all of that we have affirmative action should any of the aforementioned right be threatened or violated.
still, spellcheck doesn’t recognize rape, slut, negro because they’ve become offensive epithets and also politically incorrect, voiding them of their original racist sting. spellcheck is quite politically correct!
we rule in celebrating our openness to language and culture because a keystone of education in the US is to foster awareness of, and respect for, diversity of opinions and attire and beliefs.
but as forward thinking as we are in so much, we are backward thinking when it comes to language, especially grammar and spelling.
“like” seems to be a sloppy substitute for a precise word or a word, period! this language is employed by a certain age group who text at the speed of perhaps light, and whose mode of conversation has become textual [ and I don’t mean from a text, but texting]. but when confronted with a paper to write these same folks don’t know how to spell and compose sentences. my students didn’t know that “i.e.” means ‘that is’ so they read it as the actual letters “i.e.” and not ‘that is’ when I asked them to read aloud.
spell check is there to help, but does your computer always know the difference between ‘new’ and ‘knew’ or ‘their’ and ‘there’ if the writer doesn’t?
the latest word now is ‘literally’. i no longer use that word. millenials have wiped that word clean out of my dictionary! and just as I hesitate to use ‘like’ even as a simile, in its correct form, I now hesitate on ‘literally’. I have begun to wince if ‘like’ or ‘literally’ enter my head. I stop them short of falling off my tongue and becoming language!
what happens when words like ‘lol’ or ‘like’ or ‘totally’ or ‘literally’ take on different meanings and enter the urban, Oxford or Webster dictionaries? will programs be written to enlarge meanings of words previously taken to have a precise meaning? and will machines know what we wish to write?
enlarging one’s vocabulary is always good. a friend recently taught me 2 new words: zinger and trifecta. i quite like them. but abbreviating vocabulary in the way it’s done today by millennials and wanna-be millenials poses another problem: it decreases one’s vocabulary skills in writing. these days students write the same way they talk. they – and even teachers – don’t know that ‘a lot’ is two words or that ‘your’ is different from ‘you’re’.
where are the meaty words such as [not like] “dissendium” or “apparate” or “disapparate” or “obliviate” or ‘inglorious’, which all sound so very powerful and real?