Social Media And The English Language by Reuben Abati

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Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati


By Reuben Abati

I get confused these days reading many of the posts on social media, and text messages sent through cell phones, because of the kind of new English that young people now write. The English language is without doubt quite dynamic. In the last 200 years, it has lent itself to many innovations, as cultural, religious, and situational codes have transformed the language and extended the dictionary, with new words and idioms.

The kind of new English being written by twitter and what’s app users, particularly young people is however so frightening and lamentable, because it is beginning to creep into regular writing. Texting and tweeting is producing a generation of users of English, (it is worse that they are using English as a second language), who cannot write grammatically successful sentences. I was privileged to go through some applications that some young graduates submitted for job openings recently and I was scared.

This new group of English users does not know the difference between a comma and a colon. They have no regard for punctuation. They mix up pronouns, cannibalize verbs and adverbs, ignore punctuation; and violate all rules of lexis and syntax. They seem to rely more on sound rather than formal meaning. My fear is that a generation being brought on twitter, Facebook, instagram and what’s app English is showing a lack of capacity to write meaningful prose, or communicate properly or even think correctly.

To an older generation who had to go through the rigour of being told to write proper English, and getting punished severely for speaking pidgin or vernacular or for making careless mistakes of grammar and punctuation, the kind of meta-English now being written by young people can be utterly confusing. The irony is that it makes sense to the young ones, …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper