WE have been exposed to plenty of negative consequences of the excessive use of gadgets and unlimited access to social media platforms.
The side effects of these sophisticated technologies impact healthcare, reduce family time, distract students from their studies and invite controversies when interesting Facebook statuses, tweets, pictures or videos go viral. Here comes the next effect that many may overlook or take for granted: the abuse of language.
Language is a tool of communication, but the privilege has apparently been misused by insensitive people. The distortion of language seems to be increasing at an alarming rate as people venture into the borderless world of the Internet.
They are getting more creative in delivering a message as they modify the spellings and change the word structures.
This is practised by teenagers and young adolescents who may be influenced by the infamous “You Only Live Once” (Yolo).
Their ridiculous style of writing leads to misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the real meanings.
This phenomenon involves Bahasa Malaysia and English language.
While we are upholding Bahasa Malaysia and strengthening the English language, some do not take this policy seriously.
Bahasa Malaysia has been our lingua franca for a long time and we should maintain the quality of the language.
Furthermore, the language has become a shared language that unites the races and is used during formal occasions.
Meanwhile, the effort by the government to boost English proficiency among students will be in vain if they keep using improper language when writing a social media update or creating a blog entry.
To schoolchildren, it is fun and trendy to type text messages and online comments using awkward spellings to convey meanings.
Some of them coin words and mix the two languages (BM and English), making the sentence a mess.
Sometimes, it is upsetting to notice the misspelling of common words by teenage users, not to mention intentional grammatical errors and inappropriate phrases used by students when updating a status.
Even if they want to go casual, they need to at least use contractions, acronyms, clippings or hy-pocorisms in their sentences to avoid ruining the language.
One implication of the frequent use of improper language on social media and in text messages is the tendency for students to carry the same attitude when writing essays for language subjects.
These students subconsciously apply what they practise during their online chats, which results in mistakes.
The word “you” will be spelled as “u”, “maybe” will become “mybe” and “thank you” will become “tq”.
This issue should be highlighted during the language month celebrated annually in schools to remind students to mind their language every time.
The responsibility to preserve the value and beauty of the language is not only on linguists but all of us.
Together, let’s write it right. Muhamad Solahudin Ramli, Marang, Terengganu NST Letters 10/10/2014