3/08/2016

From Homophones to Hieroglyphics


What has digital messaging done to spelling?

Massacred it, leaving only carcass that looks so grossly mangled, it is nothing like the original, complete form—not even close.

I got a bizarre text message today that went this way:

“Oks magazk?” 

My head throbbed with a dull ache for close to an hour, trying to decipher what it meant. I read it aloud countless times, tried a myriad of permutations, but either I have lost my synapses, or my brain has shriveled up due to aging.

I replied, “What did you mean?”

She wrote back, “Is it okay if I ask you a question?” (Her first message was a combined form of Filipino and English slang terms.)

Now why would anyone, in this age of modern communication, want to garble spelling?  

Having to deal with homophones (same sound but with a different spelling/meaning) is hard enough—so having to decode fancy-sounding spelling is like reading hieroglyphics. 

Take these six words that have exactly the same sound but each with a totally different meaning

Air: Breathable gas

Err: Make a mistake

Heir: Scion

Aire: A tune (as in, Londonderry Aire)

Are: A unit of area equal to 100 square meters

Ere: poetic and old form of “before”

These one-syllable words are difficult enough to differentiate from one another, so why do we complicate spelling further?

This is especially heart-breaking for me because I teach Business Communications.

But I guess I will not get an answer before I turn to dust.

I now beg for grace, maybe a smorgasbord of grace, to understand hieroglyphics such as what I received today—and hope not to receive at all.

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