I was listening to the radio on my drive to work the other day when a phrase caught my attention.
Code switching: the art of switching between 'txt spk', local dialect or slang and the Queen's English.
It had never really occurred to me that we alter the way we speak depending on context. When I'm in Germany speaking with my grandparents I'm very aware that I'm speaking 'Platt' [low German]. I'm also aware that when I speak to people in Germany outside of my family or when I write in German, I switch to 'Hochdeutsch'.
I find it amazing that a new brain function has evolved over the past few decades to accommodate and allow a switch between what is effectively a new language, spawned by the world wide web.
When I text I don't use text speak. Now that my texts are no longer restricted to a certain number of characters I see no benefit in condensing my spelling. My parents-in-law, however, are known to send texts with just the first letter of each word, expecting the Photographer and me to decipher their meaning. They assume that we as the young generation are fully versed in text abbreviations and are seemingly unaware that their version of text speak is a concoction entirely of their own making.
Twitter is another matter. To convey a thought in 140 characters requires, ironically, some thought! Yet even then I very rarely revert to abbreviation.
Perhaps my brain has simply rejected 'txt spk'; perhaps the grammar nazi in me recoils at the number of inaccuracies it requires. Or perhaps I simply enjoy the art of manipulating our language to its fullest extent, pushing the boundaries of word assembly and appreciating the true beauty of what the English language has to offer.