The English language is weird, funny and full of surprises. Sometimes it surprises even native speakers. But everyday vernacular speakers go beyond even William Shakespeare in coining new terms, finding out words where none exist and changing and modifying the native words to suit their requirements. Each native language in India has its own ‘version’ of English words, which are not very meaningful outside a particular geographic area.
I chance upon new words almost every day, some of them meaningless acronyms, some of them really helpful abbreviations that revolutionise SMS language. Growing up in an age where the 160 character limit for SMS existed, and adulting in the age where it has now become the 140 character limit for a Twitter tweet, I can understand the allure of keeping it as short and sweet as possible.
But even despite this, some abbreviations and misnomers make no sense. I can see how life became lyf and my became ma. I can also understand why ‘s’ is almost always replaced by ‘z’ to sound cooler. (Rules becomes rulez, jokes become jokez and so on and so forth. The multiple zzzz is often used for emphasis, last I heard). But when heart became hart, it took me more than a few minutes to understand what it meant.
The new ‘lingo’ threw me off guard. I had seen it once before, and I dismissed it as a unintentional typo made in urgency. But with the advent of the new whatsapp + snapchat brainchild of picture (and photo based) statuses, I chanced upon this status from a close friend who worried about how her ‘hart’ was ‘browkan’.
I understood the necessity of new words when they reduced the characters in the word, (still managing to convey a semblance of the original meaning), but this was going a bit overboard. From the days where misspellings were frowned upon, to the days when proper spelling is looked at with disdain, the English language has evolved to a point where it is completely unrecognizable compared to its proper (rule based) format.
While I rejoice that I learnt a new word today, I could also hear a tendon break in my editor’s heart when the search for ‘hart’ brought out image results of that Valentine’s day logo. Maybe the modernized version of the word needed a modernized version of the heart. But as long as biology books stick to the original spelling, I am okay!