Why are people out here trying to get rid of our words? The Authors Collection.
June 29, 2013
I’m a writer. So, words are important to me. And what I see is a concerted effort to get rid of words.
Oops. Already, ten or fifteen words have disappeared from the previous paragraph. But, I can put those back. What bothers me are attacks on words from two sides.
The first is today’s trend to leave out some or most of the letters in a word because … what? Make it easier to type? To fit a 140 letter limit? Or simply because the writer doesn’t know the proper word. BTW BFF pls RT. OMG tks
English is an incredibly rich language, with more than twice the number of words in the next largest language. Why the systematic movement to cut it down? Because we have such a robust language, we have the opportunity to produce great works. But I seriously doubt that many great works will come from BTW, BFF, pls wi +.
But perhaps the biggest problem I have is the move by manufacturers to replace words with pictograms. I know, a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes, a few well-chosen words are worth more than a picture. Take this for instance.
Just exactly what do they want you to do?
I bought a lawn mower the other day. Above a lever, it had a line with a picture of a rabbit on one end and a tortoise on the other end. After tracing the cables I deduced that the symbol had something to do with the speed of the machine. But what? Now, I know you are saying, “Dummy, the rabbit is faster, so that is the fast setting.” But, I remember reading about the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise actually finished first. So, maybe by using the tortoise setting, I will actually finish in less time.
Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to say “Fast” and “Slow”?
Somebody out there is saying, “They sell that mower in many countries.” I’m willing to grant that. But they sell tens of thousands of that particular mower in the U.S. and with the price tag as high as it is, they could afford a small sticker printed in English. And if they sell tens of thousands in Australia, they could print those labels in – oh, that’s English again. Well, sort of.
So, we must be vigilant. Little by little, they are taking away our words and replacing them with pictures or abbreviations. Protect the English language, or before long, the novel will be only pix & abr & …
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