I am in love with this post! Gabe Doyle is a fourth-year graduate student in Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego. He is a computational psycholinguist. I don’t exactly know what that is, but I believe it means he is interested in how people choose to express the ideas they want to express. Or something like that.
While I am definitely a Facebook fan, I do not enjoy what social media and texting are doing to our language. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define and get people to agree to stick to a set of rules upon which we can all agree are necessary to follow with regard to language. Because, really, that’s all the conventions of writing are – little polite agreements between communicators.
I think of writing like driving. Just as there are rules of the road created to maintain civility and prevent chaos, so too, there are rules for writers. When we write, our pens are our cars. So we zoom around our little pen-cars where it is implied we have agreed to follow the same conventions because it helps us to better understand each other. Grammar conventions are kindnesses we bestow upon our readers, so they can understand us more easily. For example: Commas are little road bumps which make us slow down. Periods are stop signs. Semicolons are flashing yellow lights. The only problem is very few people follow the grammar rules anymore, so we are starting to have a lot of difficult situations out there like when people don’t use capitalization or end punctuation and just keep going on there is no break or anything at all to indicate that the sentence is coming or has come to an end so it just keeps going which can be confusing because sometimes writers change topics suddenly you and are in outer space floating among the planets which is cucumber cool except you didn’t want to go to outer space. You wanted to go to a movie.
So check out the link to the great article above. I wish I’d written it.