Quoting Illiterates (Update)

An email has flooded in about my previous post confirming that I was being too harsh. My correspondent points out that the mother was illiterate, she was just using “txtspk” which, whilst not being a dialect that many people enjoy reading, is still becoming an acceptable language amongst the young.

I don’t agree with this for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I accept that txtspk is a very common language amongst the young. But I think that an important part of being literate is knowing the appropriate language to use in different circumstances. And, in my opinion, using txtspk when talking about her son like that is inappropriate. To me it shows a lack of respect. I accept that not everyone will agree with me.

But secondly, let’s look more closely at what she wrote. The quotation I used was “RIP my lil angel mummy knows your still here love u always and foreva”. Some of those errors (“lil”, “u”, and maybe even “foreva”) are clearly txtspk so we’ll ignore them. But “your” isn’t txtspk (that would be “ur”, as I understand it) and it’s not good English. She means to say “you’re”. Mixing up homonyms like “you’re” and “your” is what marks her out as illiterate.

Maybe she isn’t illiterate. Maybe she’s just sloppy. But when all you know about someone is their writing, then you’ll obviously judge their level of literacy by what they have written. To me, it’s important that my writing gives as good an impression of me as possible. It seems that other people aren’t as bothered about first impressions as I am.

By the way, I enjoy getting feedback on my blog in any form. But the best way is to add a comment. That way all of the conversation takes place in public.

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