Found via the grammar_whores community on LiveJournal:
‘Yo, can u plz help me write English?’
Carl Sharp knew there was a problem when he spotted his 15-year-old son’s summer job application: “i want 2 b a counselor because i love 2 work with kids.”
That night, the father in Phoenix removed the AOL Instant Messenger program from the family computer and informed both his children they were no longer to chat with friends online.
Granted, I can understand where Sharp is coming from— such writing is the result of the explosion of text messaging among my generation— yet at the same time, it does seem a bit unfair, as some of us do try to write instant messages in something resembling proper English.
It’s all a matter of style, and it seems that far too many children these days don’t understand the difference between formal and informal writing (remember the SMS-speak essay I blogged about a month ago?). Sure, one can write in an abbreviated, “netspeak” style in one’s personal journal, in letters to one’s friends, and the like— but one simply should not turn in a formal essay or a job application littered with abbreviations like “u” and “r”. Argh.
Edit 2003/04/03: I just noticed something even more disturbing in that article. It’s not just middle-schoolers who have difficulty distinguishing between proper English and netspeak; apparently even college freshmen have trouble with it:
English instructor Cindy Glover, who last year taught a section of freshman composition at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, says she spent a lot of time unteaching Internet-speak. “My students were trying to communicate fairly academic, scholarly thoughts, but some of them didn’t seem to know it’s ‘y-o-u,’ not ‘u,’ ” Glover says. “I wanted to teach them to communicate persuasively, but I couldn’t get past the really horrific spelling or grammar.”