Technology is ruining the English Language – r u wit mi?

A girl texting on her iphone. Not pictured: complete sentences. Image courtesy of

A girl texting on her iphone. Not pictured: complete sentences. Image courtesy of

That’s right. txts r 2 blme.

Well at least our overuse of them is. Is anyone else annoyed when they receive a txt ful ov shrthand, or a bout of poor grammar? It is my pet hate, and yes, I am under the age of 30.

I recently left my phone at home lately (sadly, product of a too-long download and sync) and I felt a slight palpitating fear in my chest at the thought of missing it, like a limb. I was genuinely concerned what I might do if I broke down, despite having no issues with my car to cause the concern. I was worried I might miss something. Of course, I didn’t because life really isn’t that exciting. It did, however, prove my point that we are ultra dependent on technology to get us through the day. Let’s mix that day of technological dependence with a teenager brought up on mobile phone technology, predictive text and shorthand. Do we really think this won’t have an impact? What is going to become of the English language in another generation’s time if we can’t manage to spell things properly today?

Of course I realise that not everyone is A grade material at a spelling competition from my generation or those previous, but I’d say we had a much better chance. Who knows if their spelling is incorrect these days? The number of times I’ve seen their/there, you/yousens (good God – I hate the colloquialised pluralisation here), were/where, your/you’re etc…. I want to cry…or punch something. I might be making light of the situation but it is a real worry. Why are we not more worried about the future language capabilities of our nations?


I realise that Chaucerian English is about as difficult to understand these days as txt spk and that we have evolved a long way from this into that of today, but are we to move towards scrapping the Queen’s English as we know it altogether in a few generations? I would hate to see the beauty of the English language lost as many today already feel the Austin’s, Shakespeare’s and definately Chaucer’s of the world are lost to them in double Dutch. Are we to relegate our communication in written form completely to the technological fire too? For my sanity’s sake, I will continue to use the correct version of your and you’re (your beautiful will forever haunt me…… Your beautiful what?!) and the rest of the melting pot of fabulous words we have developed and cherished, and hope that we do not lose the sheer beauty of language, let alone the literacy gems we have come to recognise.

In the meantime, text-speak and poor grammar will continue to have the same effect on me as nails down a blackboard. Please respect it, and proper syntax!


Some thoughts from BBC readers online shed some interesting light on the points above:

Surely as time is going on our language is getting shorter and shorter thanks to technology. Eventually we won’t need to write anything down and we will just speak into microphones and it will be written/stored for us. We are all just gonna end up speaking a slang form of our language.  John Jackson, UK

Texting is transforming our language, making it evolve at a remarkable pace. As a lecturer I find students slipping text language into everyday work, however they seem to have got to grips with reverting back to the Queen’s English when submitting reports and other major written work. The frightening thing is I have noticed I’ve been using it when leaving notes for students to book tutorials and when sending a quick email to a work colleague. Is there no hope for us!  Stuart Rhodes, England

Ruining? RUINING? It’s expanding our language. It’s making it more compatible with a write-faster short-message society. When people started saying ‘why’ more often than ‘wherefore’, there were no doubt old-fashioned starchies around then who argued that was wrong.  Liz Bulleyment, Derbyshire

 How long before we accept grunts accompanied by vague finger pointing? 
Richard, UK
It’s not just text messaging that is doing this. Media are using it a lot too. It’s seen as trendy but to me it’s 90% gibberish. With predictive texting starting to come in, it’s easier to use real words than the code some people come up with. This falls into the same category as music acts spelling their names wrong (yes, I know it’s because you can’t copyright real words) which kids then use to spell in school.  Steve G, UK
Far from worrying about text messaging finding its way into schools, it’s more worrying that a pupil is so idiotic to think it would be acceptable. If a pupil cannot change their communication to suit the context then they’re hopeless.  Fraser Heath, Aberdeen UK
It seems that as technology speeds along at ever increasing rates of processing power coupled with the perceived notion that a quick written communiqué is better than an eloquently crafted piece of writing the children of the world are inventing ways of keeping pace with this in their own way.  Jeff, USA

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Entertainment, People, Science, Technology, Uncategorized


Digital and Comms nerd working in an INGO. PhD researcher (technology / gender / International development / fragile and conflict affected states / South Sudan). Bibliophile. Writer. Musician. Views my own.

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12 Comments on “Technology is ruining the English Language – r u wit mi?”

  1. February 28, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Reblogged this on Louise Acheson.

  2. February 28, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Many thanks Lou for an article that is close to my heart.
    I also detest the short text speak that is proliferating all corners of the world in virtually every way it can. How long before it gets it’s own status as a language and commences being taught in schools and colleges across the country?

    My own english is not the best to be honest but I always try to communicate as clearly as I can in writing and text! I am in my mid thirties and could have embraced TXT speak but chose not too. That was most likely due to the fact that it took me a life time to decrypt them!

    I also think that when comparing to ancient languages, there may be soem similar characteristics. Looking at Ogham or Elder Futhark and the the use of grammar. It was short and to the point. Maybe instead of evolving language we are digressing? Just a thought!

  3. keithybob
    February 28, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I refuse to reply to a text message that’s sent to me in txt speak! Rather than spending time trying to decipher it, I politely ask the sender to resend the message in English. Ha ha. It just really irritates me.

  4. February 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Thank’s for the link guys.

  5. Anonymous
    March 1, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I am in my mid fifties and hate with a passion text speak.

    My generation are having to embrace and I feel at times are being forced to communicate the FACEBOOK,TEXT MESSAGES ,TWITTER,EMAIL world of communicating.

    Give me a good old fashion telephone. paper and a pen and a face to face conversation over coffee or a good book club and I will be happy.

    Bring back the beautiful words, and the hand written letters before future generations will only find them in museum cases and dusty garages. Im not one of those old fashioned people that think the world should not be going ahead in leaps and bounds and we should be living in the dark ages, but as Paul Toner said lets evolve and not digress.

    Everything in moderation thats the key.


    • March 2, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      I hate to think what bizarre methods of communication are going to befall our world by the time I’m in my mid-50s and have the exact same opinion of them as you do of Facebook/Twitter! 🙂

  6. Saint Just
    March 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Using ‘disinterested’ to mean ‘not interested’ annoys me the most. Has to be one of the most irritating ways to confuse what someone is saying. Oh and ‘isn’t it ironic that…’ is usually followed by something not ironic – which ironically is ironic.

  7. Anonymous
    March 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    After having lunch today with friends that vary from early fifties into their late sixties, I got them talking about this subject.

    There was mixed opinions, but the one thing that came out of this discussion was that we are SCARED, SCARED,SCARED TO DEATH of a lot of communication changes and feel that if we embrace it we will fail. So we have banded together and decided that you cleaver young things of this generation have a thing or two to teach us, so all of us are off to classes at the third generation school and get on the learning bandwagon.

    Its comforting to think that in our twilight years coming up, it will be our keyboard and iphone that will keep us company and not the Sydney Morning Herald and the radio. Ha Ha.


  8. March 7, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Reblogged this on Keelan Foley.

  9. March 16, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I really liked this post

  10. Alicia
    November 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    The article is written from a prescriptivist stance.

    Therefore it is contradictory to be using contractions, ‘I’ve’ ‘I’d’ ‘won’t’ and split infinitives, ‘I recently left…’ as opposed to ‘Recently, I left…’.

    Both of these are features of non-standard English and have been developed over time. The Grammarians tried to prevent the splitting of an infinitive, just as you are trying to prevent further language change.

    I’m an A-level student, not a published writer…


  1. Spking fnetics: Bil Brysn’s “Muthr Tung” & txt spk :-o | Moon Under Water - April 6, 2012

    […] development of txt spk from many quarters, both as a “dumbing down” of English and as a deviation from the creative aestheticism of the older language. However I see no reason why txt spk English wouldn’t be amalgamated into regular English […]

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