The Theory of Devolution: Language vs. Technology

As a University student, texting is the easiest way to contact me as I always have my cell phone with me. I’m sure many of my peers would agree. Texting is quick, convenient and it allows us to be constantly connected with our friends. However, cell phones make developing bad grammar habits almost unavoidable. A texter can rely, solely, on auto-correct to spell words for him or her. Improper spelling occurs on purpose because we know that as long as you push the letters sort of near the proper ones, your desired word will appear anyway, so there is no need to ever know how to spell any word.

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Punctuation is completely out of the question, apart from the odd exclamation point or question mark. We rely on emojis to convey tone and meaning. Abbreviations or “text lingo”, have also become part of our daily vocabulary. I know I am guilty of texting “rn” instead of “right now”, or “gonna” instead of “going to”. My personal favourite is “v” instead of “very”. But why? Typing out “very” is obviously not difficult, but society is constantly searching for ways to make communicating faster and easier, and as a result, lazier.

Reading books has become seemingly less popular because kids are so distracted by technology. I remember a few years ago, kids would line up for the release of the newest Harry Potter, not the newest IPhone. Reading is the easiest way to naturally become a better writer. While reading, one is always learning new words, and comparing styles, neither of which happen while texting. The biggest limitation technology poses on young people is that when they rely on the convenience of cell phones, they are discouraged from learning proper English, which will prevent them from becoming exceptional writers.

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Technology has done amazing things for our world, like allowing astronauts to travel to the moon and providing houses with heat during an Edmonton winter. Even in regards to language and communication, technology has played an important role in the evolution of English as new slang words are created every day. For example, the world “selfie” which refers to a picture of oneself, is now in the dictionary. Although technology has advanced our world in many positive ways, we must teach the younger generation the importance of writing, grammar and proper English so that we can continue to advance, rather than idle in the texting-zombie state we are slipping into.

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