Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"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 out! No more "yo."


At Wed Mar 28, 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old timer, (with all due respect)

There is actually quite a popular movement amongst us youngsters to bring proper grammar and spelling back to the internet. A good number of us are disgusted by these new 'alternate spellings'.

At Thu Mar 29, 06:29:00 PM, Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

Whenever I've seen comments or other items posted that contain "u" or "ur" or other absurdly lazy forms of substandard English I refuse to read on. I hate these quick, but completely annoying little tools for texting and IMing. I won't do it. It's good to hear other people are trying to keep the English language grounded.

At Fri Mar 30, 04:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget 'thru'...I can't remember the last time I saw 'through'.


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