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Glad to have you here but remember, you could be spending your time more wisely. Family, friends, maybe even your job if you are really pushed for something to do. David also writes the Building Our Home Blog as well as the wildly popular Dave’s Mindscape

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Word

I was talking to my daughter in Germany. She is there, I’m not. We were using MSN and I remarked it was as if she were downstairs. Instant messaging is really fast, even though there is a six hour time difference between here and there. But this is not about the speed of the Internet. It is about language. I’ve always thought that it would be handy if there was a universal language. It would be really, really handy if that language were English as that is the only one I’ve been able to master (well I’m working on it). Millions may disagree but it’s my blog, get your own. From what I understand European children have the advantage of being forced to learn more than one language. This is handy as those countries are cheek-by-jowl with a lot of foreign countries that speak something else. I am jealous. When I went to school, more than a few years ago, the educational system arranged that we would get 15 minutes of French. Canadian French. The classes were forty minutes long but we got 15 minutes whether we wanted it or not. I’m sure the teachers were more than competent ‘tho I wonder who wrote the curriculum. Through grades 6 to 12, to the best of my knowledge, few of my unilingual peers rose to the aggrandized state of truly bilingual. For those who did, felicitations. Myself, I can tell you there is an autobus dans la rue, ask for a beer and ask where the washroom is. Two of these have stood me in good stead. The reason for language is to communicate. To everyone. Otherwise, have a code. Back in the old days, Esperanto, a language, was developed in 1887 by Ludwik Zamenhof with the specific intent of creating an international second language. There are an estimated 2 million speakers of Esperanto. There are nearly 7 billion people on earth. Language itself, let alone second languages may be doomed to fail. As early as 1965, The Who said “And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say”. Prophecy or warning. Need proof of the demise of language? Check out your kids on Messenger or texting on their mobile. Leetspeak short for elite speak as defined by Mopo.ca Leet (most commonly 1337 but often also leetspeak, leetspeek, or l33t) from the phonetic form of the word "elite", is a cipher, or novel form of English spelling. It is characterized by the use of non-alphabetic characters to stand for letters bearing a superficial resemblance, and by a number of spelling changes such as the substitution of "z" for final "s" and "x" for "(c)ks". Leetspeak is traditionally used on the Internet and other online communities, such as bulletin board systems. Leetspeak is commonly used by hackers, crackers, script kiddies, and gamers. (English teachers everywhere are turning in their graves) (well, the dead ones anyway). Imagine this type of communication during the Cold War, think Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb But who can blame the younger generations for trying to eliminate extraneous parts of language such as vowels and consonents. Try writing anything of any length on a crackberry. So while today’s languages may join the ranks of Latin and Greek, we will still be able to communicate on some level. So for now I will bid you adieu or say caio which is short for bye.

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