tetx speakFor the working generation, the importance of adopting another language is crucial for business success, yet younger Britons have found a way around this and see little point in learning a new language when they can just picture it instead.

As language develops, text speak infiltrates, making English even harder to learn for those who don’t speak it as a first language. English vocabulary already has the highest number of words in the world with over eight hundred thousand, and now it has abbreviations galore that need to be translated.

While some defend this shift, calling those who hate text speak old-fashioned or fuddy-duddy and labelling the acronyms as a natural progression of language, others worry about how it is affecting a language of which we were so proud.

A Place for the Smiley Face

In business today, emails play an important role. If our correspondence with business contacts and customers was to be hand written on paper in letter form for just one day, I’m sure we’d be quite astonished by the amount of paper and time that would be wasted. In many ways, email is saving the written word, but there is still a place for the smiley face.

Unlike talking face to face, or indeed on the phone, voice inflections obviously cannot enter into written communications. The use of the smiley face removes any ambiguity concerning sarcasm or the intention of words and is infinitely preferable to “lol”.

Go Emoji Go

The smiley face isn’t enough, though; we now have a whole keyboard full of characters that express different phrases, emotions and sentiments in one simple icon. A great facilitator between those that speak different languages, they’re probably most widely used by teenagers who speak the same tongue. There are now hundreds of emoticons to choose from and for many, searching for the perfect little face takes longer than it would to spell out the actual phrase.

The Age Divide

As an example of the generational divide regarding text speak, there was a case when, like many of us over thirty, one woman assumed that “LOL” was short for “Lots of Love”. She realised her mistake after receiving replies to a round-robin text she’d sent to tens of family members, close and distant, to let them know that “Great Aunt Marge has passed away, LOL”.

Yet this isn’t what worries professors the most: it’s the removal of over 16,000 hyphens from the English language because “people don’t have time to insert a hyphen into words” when texting.

It’s quite clear that regardless of our native tongue we’ll have to constantly learn and adapt in order to keep up with the ever-changing trends.

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