5/27/2013 7:43 AM: Rob: Gudmrnin
5/27/2013 8:01 AM: naa: Good morning Rob
5/28/2013 6:56 AM: Rob: Good morning big sis
5/28/2013 6:56 AM: Rob: U gud?
5/28/2013 6:57 AM: naa: I am good
5/28/2013 6:57 AM: naa: How are you spending your time?
5/28/2013 6:57 AM: Rob: Eerm ima work atm
5/28/2013 6:57 AM: Rob: Hbu?
5/28/2013 7:03 AM: naa: Please write in full I don’t understand what you have written
5/28/2013 7:03 AM: Rob: Ok
5/28/2013 7:04 AM: Rob: I’m at work at the moment. How about you

This is a WhatsApp message i received yesterday from a youth in my church. A typical example of how many young people and even adults are communicating in text messages and sometimes even emails. Sad. Notice how I kept writing in full when he wrote in text speak. I was just hoping he would catch the drift. I was wasting my time. Maybe you got what he said, but honest to God i honestly thought he was referring to an ATM! Talk about a typical example of barriers to effective communication!




Of late i just cant stand some types of text speak. Its not that i don’t understand what they mean (some do actually elude me) but I see it to be a really poor method of communication amongst many people especially the youth who see it to be the cool way to send IM messages. Its like many young people and even some ‘adult’s are becoming lazy in typing out simple messages. I know! i am ranting. I want to rant today so please…allow! Whats got me started? Of late i have been getting some messages on my BBM and Whatsapp platforms which are just irking me. Here are a few examples of some text speak which i really cant stand and i will also touch briefly on the effect of these text lingo on our lifestyles.

K

Yes the letter k. Sometimes i will be chatting to someone about an important issue and after waiting for about 10 minutes for a response all i get is ‘K’. Is it that difficult to add one more alphabet to that letter to get Ok? Or the keypad O is damaged. Or how hard is it to type ‘Ok, i understand’. Such a response communicates to me ( i dont know about you) that you are saying ‘whatever’ or ‘yeah, i hear you’. Imagine a couple who are having some relational issues and after a long email or whatsapp chat
the guy responds, ‘k’! Seriously, how would you feel?



HBD

No its not a communicable disease. This is text speak for Happy Birthday. Like i wrote on a friend’s Facebook timeline in response to her status on this same HBD, anyone who writes that on her timeline deserves a block. Simple. How difficult is it to write Happy Birthday in full? If you know you cant buy the person a birthday card or gift the least you can do is to show some respect to the birthday girl or guy. I see it to be a total lack of respect. Its not ‘by force’ to even write on the persons timeline anyway.

Sowie/Sowi

Apologies are meant to be heartfelt and sincere. Typing a word ‘sowie’ to stand for an apology is just a a sorry excuse. Sowie is five letters, same as Sorry. Its too bad that many young people of today are seeing this text lingo to be the in thing when it comes to communicating apologies. Like seriously? I even have friends sending this to me on my BBM and when i raise this ‘i am being someway’.

HMD

I saw on someone’s Facebook timeline HMD to wish his friend, Happy Mothers Day. I almost chocked in shock! How crude and rude! Either the person can’t spell well to wish his friend motherly wishes or he is just one lazy dude! If you can’t be bothered then don’t write it. I would have rightly blocked that person. 

GM

Its now too tiring to type Good Morning. Funny Story- Last week one of our church Deacon’s was telling me how a lady sent him a message which read ‘gm’. He replied, ‘Ford’ . She resent the same message and he responded the same way, ‘Ford’. She then asked what he meant and his response was, ‘Ah! But you are sending me General Motors and i am responding ‘Ford’! 🙂 – I mean seriously, you are sending a message to a church elder and you can’t be bothered to write properly to show respect? I don’t get that. 


TYLJ
God forgive you if you write this anywhere on your Timeline or as your status on any IM application. You obviously do not fear or respect God to write Thank You Lord Jesus in full or you are shy to proclaim your Christianity to the world. I saw one on a friends BB status and it made me really sad. Why reduce the blessed name of Jesus to abbreviations or text speak. People dont fear God.

…etc…

There are so many examples which i could spend forever writing out. And many of these are just dripping down from Western and European culture which of course we are blindly copying to feel ‘cool’ You know whats sad? Many young teens are using these text lingoes to hide the messages from their parents incase they chance upon them. So just in case Dad comes across a message like GNRN he wouldn’t have a clue as to what it means. GNRN by the way, means Get Naked Right Now. Or GAP- Got A Picture?  and even worse GYPO – Get Your Pants Off. Yep, using text lingo to hide sexually immoral acts being conducted via the Internet. 

The Negative Effects of Text Speak on Literacy

So why the fuss about text lingo? Like the negative effects of social media on relationships, text speak is or will have a negative impact on the academics of our Ghanaian youth. Maybe now we may not see the effect but some years down the line many of our kids and young people will be facing serious English grammar difficulties in school and even when they get their first jobs.  When they use text lingo, they basically avoid using the right punctuations and prefer to use the shortcuts to send a message across. Its very common for many students to be using 2 instead of ‘too’ , u instead of ‘you’, 4 instead of ‘for’ as a means of writing faster in sms messages. What do you think is the probability of them writing this in formal letters or assignments?  The line between using text lingo only during phone conversations has been crossed and many students and even yourself can’t differentiate between ‘your and you’re’ because they have been writing ‘your’ to stand for ‘you’re’ and thats just what it is. People just become so used to see text speak that even when they make a mistake in a formal document, the mind just wouldn’t recognise the error and accepts it as accurate. 

The communication gap between the younger and older generation gets widened all the more with all the shortcuts used in IM’s and texts. Most parents do not understand most of the text speak and it just baffles them to see all kinds of shortcuts in their texts. Eg: Mom, ily. or Dad imu. What is imu or ily? 

The negative effects of text speak are already seeping into the academic work of many American students. Soon it will be Ghana. Maybe i should do a research on it and find out. And sadly, the grammatical errors will soon be evident in job application letters and the like. 

Text speak makes communication faster in many situations, no denying it but then the context it is often used in often becomes a problem. Parents should become more aware of the communication styles of their kids and correct them as often as they can and they shouldn’t tolerate it too. Teachers have to also have a low tolerance of this habit when students use short messaging texts in their assignments. Maybe give them a lower grade? This habit has to be nipped in the bud before it blooms into something uncontrollable! 

Should i dare even say that, soon people will be speaking text speak???

What other examples of text speak have you come across? Do you use it alot and which ones dont you understand and often find yourself Googling to understand?

It doesn’t take much to add the additional letter of either an ‘o’ or ‘u’ in I love you instead of ily. 





24 COMMENTS

  1. Great post…I have a nephew in Ghana and even though I am pretty clued up on most text jargon, one day I said "enough is enough". I am slowly getting him to text with "sensible" words. I think you could approach those involved in marking English language assignments in some selected schools in Ghana and see if you can find a trend there.

  2. Thanks Kuku 🙂
    I think i might just do that you know. i wouldnt be surprised with the response. Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Naa, my sentiments exactly !!!
    And the youth? My cousin's friend Paeshenz (Patience) wanted to intern with me and had made the request via WhatsApp in text speak. I asked her to write me an essay in proper English about her dreams … no word since.

  4. Whilst reading this I was just nmh! Nodding my head I mean :)… On a serious note, It's more annoying when those culprits don't even observe the 'grammar' in this type of lingo. Just like pidgen has grammar. I resolved that I will write my whatsapp messages in full no matter what. After all I am a teacher and it's putting pressure on my friends to start being really grateful enough to write TYLJ in full as Thank You Lord Jesus! I really love this post.

  5. 🙂 She probably is consulting the dictionary and doing spell checks. hehehee… This is my problem too. There is a lady i am considering to employ as an intern too and sometimes the text speak she sends me on WhatsApp just scares me into employing her as an Administrator! hmm…
    Thanks for your comment Ob! 🙂

  6. thats one text speak i cant tolerate TYLJ, i actually just updated with that one as i left it out 🙂 Its sad that people cant be bothered to go the extra length in communication. Teach them well Elorm. Thanks for reading!

  7. Seriously, sometimes i have to think for awhile before i got a clue of what my friend meant. At a point i needed to aske for the meaning of "kk". It is being seen as fashionable and even though if you communicate with your close pal, you can use some jargons because the two of you understand, It extends to others that have no clue abt those short or abbreviated words. Probably the next i see you , I will go like…GNO…..you know what that means?

  8. u failed to mention those silly ones like "fink,fank" which are actually think and thank. can you believe that? I sometimes find it so ridiculous to see grown ups sending out silly words like that.

  9. come to think of it, there is this movie which came out some time early last year which had something similar regarding text speak between two lovers just that these were blocks of letters which were eventually formed into words. The movie is "Anna Karenina". Really nice one.

  10. "lol" for laugh out loud. Naa you can blame twitter too for 140 characters :D. But I agree with you 100%, it's impact on the little ones can be disturbing. For me, I'll tell the matured, "use it at your own peril." Great post, I'll say "passionate", and be careful when communicating with you 😀

  11. "lol" for laugh out loud. Naa, blame twitter too for 140 characters, but I agree with you 100%. Will be careful when communicating with you 😀

  12. Thanks for the translations! Some of these I never heard of!

    For me, once you get the lingo down, I don't have a problem with the abbreviations per se, as long as you know when to use text speak, and when to use standard English. If you can't hop in and out of the two worlds, then you have a problem. It's the same when people can't figure out when to use slang. With friends: OK; job interview: NOT OK!

    Text speak is okay with me, since when I was in Ghana I didn't have a smartphone and typing on those flip phones, took forever! But I had sense to know who and when to use it with!

  13. you are right Roxanne. Its when people forget themselves and cross the line between text speak for friends and for work purposes that it becomes a real problem. Also between couples, i think they should be more serious on how they communicate. thanks for your comment 🙂

  14. yeah, i forgot those. They are really annoying! They make me wonder whether the person is really appreciative of an act. some see it as a slang which is often borrowed from the UK slang 🙂

  15. For me it is not too bad when you are writing in the form of a text. The problem comes when you are so used to writing text speak that you actually write letters and any offical documentation in text speak. People have literally forgotten how to write proper english and if you are looking to intern, text speak should not even enter your mind. Moreover the sentiments in messages have gone because people who live in the microwave generation are too impatient to actually feel what they are saying. How can you HMD someone? Some who has brought you or someone you know life, you can only give 3 letters?

  16. Being versed in internet slang was something I acquired because of my cohort. In fact, most people my age, don't realise the differences between my friend, my mother and my employer. The continuous use of phone technology and apps is making people less respectful and thus encouraging immoral behaviour and compromising values. As for me, I believe all these things make people less of people and more of robots. It also weakens relationships,especially friendships, employer to employee relationships and others. These text lingos only conduce laziness and makes people less interactive and humane. The negative effects of internet slang are just down-heartening. Internet slang is meant only for casual things and not for serious things.People have to learn that.

  17. you are really on point on this. 🙂 Thats why i really dont tolerate it from people especially on birthdays, religion issues and professional levels. Is it possible that soon we will be speaking text speak? Maybe we will be too tired to laugh and say 'lol' and thats it. hmmm…
    Thanks for your comment 🙂

  18. HMD, HBD, ily, are just shallow means of communicating. i often find them to come from people who you really dont call friends. True friends wouldnt do that. Thank you Naa for reading!

  19. Let me rant some because this thing really annoys me! I absolutely HATE the HBD! Just one day in the year? Would it be so difficult to wish the person "Happy Birthday" in full? My last birthday, I took my time to delete every Facebook post with HBD on it. Really annoying.
    The one that really gets to me though, is when 'e' is used instead of a 'y'. It is altogether very stupid, in my opinion. "wae", "dae" instead of "way" and "day". Seriously? On a QWERTY keyboard, how difficult is it to reach a "y" instead of an "e". Even on an alphanumeric on T9 text input, it should be a lot easier to have the "y" presented to you first. And then if you were not using T9, it shouldn't be to hard to press "9" one more time than if you had to press "3". Geez! So so so annoying!!!
    Yesterday, I go one of those rather sickening "Gm!" at 11:50am. I saw the message at 1pm so I sent a response "Ga!". A little later, a message was sent back saying "Huh?" so I responded "I'm glad I could finally confuse you since it took me a while to figure out what "Gm!" was…"

  20. Ga? now that is very new to me! I think i will do the same when someone sends me a GM as well. Thanks for your comment Levi!

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