Internet, grammar and spelling

Martin Bugelli’s post on the need to read and the right to write (September 8, 2013) has prompted me to share a few thoughts here on this topic.

The first dictionary was published in 1806 by Marion Webster, and ever since, the idea of an important principle that words be written in a specific manner was introduced as a rule in our schools. Grammar has been around since a long time before, yet the importance of the perfect grammar principle is something becoming part of our school system rather at the same time.

With the introduction of a new popular form of communication requiring written language, together with the introduction of technology able to control both spelling and grammar, the topic has once more come to the fore regarding the importance of spelling and precise grammar.

It has been revealed through many studies that the human mind can read written words “in a wrong manner” as easily as those written properly as long as the first and last letter are correct. The truth is that many are those who when reading do not stop to see every letter, and, often, their mind will be one or two words ahead from a particular page. This phenomenon arises when one reads aloud and pronounces the expected word rather than what there is written in the page.

Although few are those who, when encountering different spelling and grammar on the Internet think in this manner, they would be expressing a subtle form of rebellion against the idea that language should be something formal and exact. Though perhaps not aware of what they would be doing, they would be making use of a language in a more than normal artistic manner, exactly as the Impressionists did with art in the past.

What is lacking in most of those individuals is that they do not fully realize what they are concocting. The ability of the Impressionist did not lie in their lack of ability to paint in the most traditional forms, but in how they could be aware by understanding those forms and succeed in experimenting beyond.

Many writers of the past, and many yet to come, twist and confute languages to create things which languages are not supposed to make, and language will continue to change, as it always did, yet this dash towards anagrams, alternative spellings and distance from grammar, most probably will decline with the growth and awareness of the present generation that much of what they say is misunderstood due to their lack of ability to insert a comma in its proper place, and their absolute ignorance of the semi-colon.

To conclude, while apparently Internet has harmed the standards of grammar and spelling, it is not yet clear whether this was a positive or negative step.

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