Thursday, May 04, 2006

Brave New Language

All this (lack of) talk about Beckett, got me thinking. Well in actual fact it got me reading. And some. I read so much that I got a headache reading. Okay so it was only the Irish Independent, but I tell you sometimes that sub-Editor is a genius of Joycean proportions. You kind of get the gist of things if you just say the words without really believing that they mean anything. The evocative sounds, the unforced assonance, the eye-catching alliteration it’s like a crazy kaleidoscope of words until something half-sensible jumps out at you.

But my excuse for reading the Indo (stuck on a broken down train south of Sydney Parade) is another blog in itself. It’s just that I feel too violated to commit that to Blogosphere just yet.

Any rate, what with the marathon newspaper read (I even read the obituaries and death notices)(remember will them well by giving to the Irish Cancer Society) coupled with a heavier than usual reading workload has left my brain somewhat addled.

A very nice client is paying me good money to analyse a boring briefing document about investment potential in the next Bratislava. All I can see are the words. They’ve no meaning. No matter how hard I try to construct sentences or half-thoughts, it just won’t come. Where is the Indo Editor when you need him?

This set me thinking. What is it about language that it must evolve? And why is it that its evolution seems to be a fashion-ridden as every other field of human endeavour? And is there an element of survival of the fittest/natural selection?


The era of the long sentences with immaculate, if unexpected, punctuation brought us such gems as…..

A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play.
I’d like to teach the world to sing …
This tape will self destructed in ….
We have the technology to rebuilt it
Now why don’t you…..
Now that’s what I call…..


This decade showed us how we’d exhausted all know word combinations (and lifted all possible signature tune/avert slogans) that we could start to abbreviate whole sentences…..



Joining the best of the two previous decades, in this era we created ‘descriptive phrases’ and then abbreviated them

Dual Income No Kids, Yet. (DINKY)
NIPPLE (New Irish Professional Person Living in England)

If abbreviating sentences into a series of letters wasn’t enough, then we started to abbreviated words by dropping vital letters …..


You can tell texting baby boomers by their ability to combine word abbreviation and sentence abbreviation with the ancient 70’s art of spelling their every thought out in detail, if not in words.

Snd me txt msg b4 skl if ur goin to shps at mmm-tme.
Hpe u lkd de prsnt I gt it 4u in brn toms. Hve rcpt if it dnt fit u.

And all this is by way of introduction to a message that I got from a work colleague. I can’t for the life of me make out what it means. Although I believe he may have been drunk and horny when he wrote it. Which brings me back to Joyce n Beckett.

P, lv da skt u wr wrn 2day. It rlly shws of u lgs n ? a fntstc rse u hv. Wood lv 2 rde u rite nw – E

Answers on a blog card to …..


Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

Ahem, being a dedicated texter myself, allow me to decipher the message from your colleague.

"Paige, loved the skirt you were wearing today. It really showed off your legs and what a great arse you have. I would love to ride you right now."

So there you have it...practically a marriage proposal by today's standards!

10:48 p.m., May 04, 2006  
Blogger Fence said...

Beaten to the answer by knackeredkaz :)

Drunk and a tad horny indeed

9:02 a.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

'Thanks, Kaz' says a now very embarassed Paige. My girlfriends wouldn't help other than to describe Eric as being rather drunk and exceptionally amorous.

Can't believe I could be so thick. But good news is that I'm wearing that skirt again!!

9:05 a.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Likewise Fence, thanks. Is it only me who can't do txt or does this come with a general inability to master English literature?

9:06 a.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

The following writers have "master(ed) English literature"...

9:24 a.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

What does " WDYSSTAGADSLBI" stand for, please?
Also, was it the whole Indo that read like Joyce/Beckett? If that's the Indo, I'd welcome your view on the I Examiner...

9:36 a.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

What's gone wrong with your clock?

6:11 p.m., May 05, 2006  
Blogger plurabella said...

Dyslexia perhaps, or esperant? Darned if I know.

1:20 p.m., May 08, 2006  
Blogger Curly K said...

I may not read Beckett or O'Casey but I absolutely hate text speak and all those abbreviations that are creeping into everyday use.

Yes, I use them sometimes but generally when I send a text I use full words etc. - it always feels wrong to use text speak - too many grammar lessons in school I think!

Paige - did you really not get what your friend was texting you? I don't believe that for a minute!

4:25 p.m., May 08, 2006  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

This post was originally inspired about how things are now conveyed with meaning by one or two letters only. For example, 'i' as in iPod ; 'Mc' as in McJob, McHotel and even "Pod".

But of course in my haste I never wrote that and ended up getting distracted with the text message that I received from a former work colleague. Now very glad of the word 'former'!

It is like language is becoming increasingly dense and compacted and that so much is being conveyed by so little.

It must be a nightmare for those who are learning English as a foreign language.

5:42 p.m., May 08, 2006  

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