Sunday, March 4, 2012

What impression do you create when you use "SMS lingo"?

Here are snatches from a conversation thread I was privileged to read on Facebook some time ago (actually you can see similar posts and comments written in similar inelegant language on Facebook and on Twitter every day):

cos thedy r idiot



who is sayng xctly! som1 coming frm d same list..

What balderdash is this?

I have never felt the need to use so-called SMS lingo... not even when I am writing an SMS (why do you think our mobiles come with a T9, or dictionary, feature?). For one, I am never so pressed for time that I cannot give some thought to articulating my thoughts. And second, I get the heebie-jeebies when I have to read an illiterate text message or Facebook post or comment.

That is why I was pleased to see a short piece titled "Inelegant language illiterate impression" by Srijana Mitra Das on the the edit page of The Times of India yesterday. "A clear connection," Mitra Das writes, "certainly exists between poor vocabulary used in text messaging and poor linguistic skills overall not to mention a poor impression accompanying messages from such writers."

If these people do not even have time to spell words correctly, argues Mitra Das, if they are so "terrifically busy", how will they ever make time for books? "Obviously, their grammatical growth and literary vibrancy will be stunted," she says.

And then she delivers the coup de grĂ¢ce:

Texts that say "hv snt rpt" instead of "I have sent you my report" make you think of someone coming to work wearing crumpled clothes and a bad attitude — sloppy, unconcerned.... Even between friends, poorly worded texts — "hw abt tht flm" — don't sound cool. They sound illiterate.

My sentiments exactly.

PS: My tolerance levels for illiterate posts on Facebook are dangerously low nowadays. So low that I have begun unsubscribing from activity stories, comments and likes, and even status updates of people whose inelegant language drives me nuts. Does that make me a bad person?


  1. I completely agree with you. I heard from a friend who's a lecturer in one of the colleges back home that students started using the inelegant language even in their examination papers. How ridiculous is that?

  2. I remember a senior at work telling me the same thing. Ever since then,i try my best not to use the sms lingo, even in messages. Later even i realised how irritating it can be for the person who is reading the sms language.

  3. No it doesn't. I'd say 'sms lingo' is enough grounds for divorce.

  4. Well said. It is so frustrating to read this kind of sms, status etc. Maybe it's the in thing to do but it makes me feel that the person writing this way is basically an idiot.

  5. A perfect expression to my very own thoughts :) Sometimes I also wonder if I'm a bad person to always feel the need to want to correct someone's grammar.:)


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