Rite on


OMG u must read da 2 coo 4 skool column!

In case you have been living under a moth ball for 10 years, that’s “Oh my gosh, you must read the too-cool-for-school column.”

According to a report published Friday at CNN.com, middle- and high-school teachers across the country are noticing an increase in instant message lingo in their students’ essays. “Words” like “ur,” “wit” and “dat” are replacing the more conventional and traditional “you are,” “with” and “that.”

As juvenile and emotionless as they truly are, I’ll admit that I continue to use instant messengers on a daily basis in college. They are fast, convenient and somewhat enlivening to my bare computer screen. There is a line between AOL messenger-speak and proper English.

One would think educators would be discouraging such language. But David Warlick, author of three books on classroom technology, applauds the IM phenomenon.

In the CNN report, he claimed, “Teachers should credit their students with inventing a new language ideal for communicating in a high-tech world.”

Last time I checked, there were few problems with our existing language (not to mention the other beautiful languages in the world). What makes a bunch of cell-phone-charged 13- and 14-year-olds think they can “invent a new language”?

The Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for more than 171,000 words in current use. That’s more than 171,000 opportunities for creative colloquy in essays, everyday language and even instant messages (I even tried to throw a few of these fun words in this column for you readers).

I wrote my first essay for English class in 1997 while I was in sixth grade. Instant messaging was virtually – no pun intended – unknown among 12-year-olds. One year later, I, and a good portion of my seventh-grade class, began using MSN Instant Messenger. Even though we also were assigned our first significant research papers, I cannot think of one instance where I was even tempted to slip in “lol” or “j/k.”

Some college instructors are now using preventative measures against Internet gabble. Sandy Anderson, instructor of English, said she has not noticed IM lingo in college students’ expository writing essays. However, Anderson provides disclaimers for students before due dates by discussing what language is appropriate for the specific essay.

The English language and its influences have existed for thousands of years.

As famed historian David C. McCullough once said, “History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” The English language shaped some of us into intellectual, capable beings; I cannot foresee instant messaging lingo doing the same. Classical literature did not use numbers, slashes and other characters.

Forgive me if I sound like a static, anti-high-tech biddy. I am all for technological advancements in all media forms – including messenger services – but the English language should not be compromised in the process.

There is a time and a place for innovational World Wide Web expression, just like everything else in life.

Adrianne DeWeese is a junior in print journalism and criminology. Please send your comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.