In the early 1990s a new craze began to sweep across the nation, Instant Messaging (IM). People everywhere, young and old, began to interact with each other, not face to face, not over the phone, but via the Internet, using only text, but in a real-time format to communicate. Since those early days, there has been a growing fear, shared by many different people from all walks of life, that the growth of IM’ s popularity has been the direct cause of the rapid changes, which have begun to appear and solidify within English. An overabundance of abbreviations, the loss of punctuation, and proper grammatical techniques, and so many more alterations, all brought about because too many kids are learning “ bad grammar” on the Internet instead of “ good grammar” in their schools.
However, is the Internet and its popularity really the only culprit here? Could it be that there are other possibilities, and that just maybe, in the right contexts, that Internet grammar, or Netspeak, might actually be a valuable, and highly effective tool for communication?
William Nenadal, ’06 Joplin, MO
Sponsor: Lynne Ikach