Killing Liz’s English?

I do apologise, but I am going to use this blog to get on my soap-box for a short while! As a Facebook user, every so often I get really cross, nay upset by the fact that teenagers don’t seem to be able to string a coherent sentence together.

Once a upon a time, it was hard to get a spoken sentence out of a teenager, so perhaps this current online phenomenon is just an extension of the more traditional trend. However, I do believe (maybe with rather rose tinted spectacles you may argue) that at least teenagers could string a sentence together on paper when required in the ‘good old days’.

Feeling Facebook frustrated I ‘Googled’ the topic and found this article in The Telegraph .

Last year, Jean Gross, the new Children’s Communication Tsar, was warning that a generation of teenagers who communicate via the Internet and by text messages are risking unemployment because their daily vocabulary consists of just 800 words.

Apparently, while they know an average of 40,000 words, they tend to favour a “teenspeak” used in text messages, on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and in internet chat rooms like MSN.

One poll, commissioned by Tesco, revealed that while children had the vocabulary to be articulate, the top 20 words they used – including the Vicky Pollard lexicon of “yeah”, “no” and “but” – accounted for about a third of all the words they used.

Jean Gross was planning to launch a nationwide campaign to ensure children use their full language potential.

You only have to look at Facebook posts like – “I cnt uno at work n they took fb off cos I keep goin on it lol” – and hope that the current Government is also doing something about this. By the way, if anyone can explain exactly what that sentence I quoted from Facebook means, I’d be most grateful. I do get the gist, but quite frankly I’d stand more chance of fully understanding Mandarin.

Facebook, email, texting etc is now so ubiquitous that for many teenagers it’s the most common way to communicate and they have grown up thinking that this is normal. Perhaps amongst their peers it is, but I cannot help worrying that as they emerge onto the job market many of them will fail to adapt how they communicate with the rest of us grumpy old sods.

You only have to read my blogs to know that I am no guardian angel of the Queen’s English, but I do worry about how the next generation of prospective PR and marketing employees will cope in the real world. Or perhaps we’ll all speak like this in twenty years time. If we do, I am booking a one-way ticket to Switzerland.

I have now stepped off of my soap-box!