At times I can be terribly pedantic. It always bothers me to see someone making a grammatical error that actually obfuscates meaning, or dilutes the meaning of a word. For example, I am annoyed when someone confuses your and you're, or their and there, since it changes the part of speech and could cause the reader to read the sentence, end up with something nonsensical, and have to start over. However, there are some things going on in informal use of the written language (which things like email and IMs are making very common) which are definitely not correct, but make me feel that they should be.

  • You changes to u. The word I gets a single letter; why should you not be equally important? In an almost-ideal universe where people nevertheless still speak English, these would fit in with the Spivak pronoun e, and the five vowels would each represent a word. (r for are is a different matter, and I don't like it, as it is part of a trend to confuse the pronunciation of consonants with the names of their letters. This does not apply to vowels, which are already named after their long pronunciations.)
  • For that matter, i becomes lowercase. It only became capitalized in the first place (after being abbreviated from "ich") because in one stage of English's development, spaces were optional, and it made the word I easier to spot. In these days of prevalent sans-serif fonts, i is actually much easier to read. It would, of course, still be capitalized at the beginning of a sentence. And in situations without markup where all caps are used for emphasis, it allows you to emphasize the word I. This even might contribute to some equality being built into the language, since i would then be on equal footing with u.
  • Spelling becomes more regular; night becomes nite, doughnut becomes donut, and tongue becomes tounge. (The world is not ready for tung. It wasn't when Webster tried to respell it that way, either.) If you try to force words to retain silent letters which nobody cares about, you end up with French.
Let me point out what I am not advocating: abbreviating stuff for no reason (yr for "your") or based on, as one of the more helpful softlinkers points out, rebus disease (ne for "any"); numbers replacing words or parts of words (4ever); diluting punctuation ("what is going on????"); removal of vowels entirely (pls, tnx), et cetera. Hence, I am not saying that the world should be reduced to AOL speak. However, present in informal text like AOL speak (but also in the works of respected poets) there are some features that make the language less stupid. You don't have to accept this usage, but languages always change, so why not at least ignore it and let it run its course?

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