"Yo": Where has it Gone?
I had occasion to speak with an old friend the other day. We now both have kids in college (having met when they were two years old) and I asked him how they -- his kids -- were getting along now that they're at different schools. My kids, who are at the same school, hardly ever see each other unless they arrange it online first. He told me that his kids are closer than ever, also thanks to the internet and cell phones -- which to their generation includes text messaging, or texting.
Verbify: to create a verb out of a noun.
We got into a lovely discussion about the generational differences in maintaining contact with other people. His contention was that the world is a scarier place today, and our kids reach out more because they find comfort in the connections. I don't think the world is necessarily more scary than in previous years, but the widespread interconnectedness made possible by modern telecommunications, including the internet, make it seem so. To be sure, in our day, large disasters made the papers wherever they were. But today the medium and even the small disasters that are and have always been a part of life are stream across the bottom of the TV screen and are discussed endlessly in various forums online.
Then again, perhaps the world always was terrifying; it's just that we weren't as aware of it.
At any rate, one of his points was that kids today are much more verbal than we were. Communication relies so much more on the written word (which includes posted and texted) even though the phone remains ubiquitous -- all the more so for having been freed from its wires.
Thinking about that, I realized that our kids are part of an enormous force on the English language: slowly but surely, the word "you" is disappearing. With two fewer keystrokes, the letters "Y-O" are becoming nothing more than a South Philly greeting. Between texting, posting and instant messaging, I'm not sure if my kids even remember that the second person prounoun isn't really "u." (Never capitalized either.)
With words like "nite" and "lite" having achieved semi-acceptable status as at least "alternate spellings," I suppose it's only a matter of time before "u" become official. Once my kids and/or their peers are the ones in charge of editing the dictionary...watch out! No more "yo."