When I first published the blog entry on Aging With Modern Lingo, most readers of my generation nodded in sympathy and agreement. I don´t know whether it happens to every generation, but for those of use who have lived to witness the transformation from manual to digital, half our vocabulary has changed in ways that we never expected it to.
For the writers, linguists, journalists, or simply language purists and intellectual snobs (like yours truly), the use of certain words in the current social context is absolutely horrifying, and even more so since the advent of texting and social media. I don’t care what the proclaimed advantages of Facebook, Twitter and co. may be, but as far as I am concerned it has spelled the demise of language purity as we know it – and I am not just talking about English. I used to think I could tell the age of a person by the manner in which he or she writes text messages, e.g. the younger ones use a plethora of acronyms that make no sense to me, whereas the 50+ tend to write in full sentences – except my dearly departed mother who texted in three languages and used abbreviations for all three.
Have a go at the poem below by Devang Gandhi, The Age Before The Computer, and let me know what you think- and if you are anywhere in my age bracket or older, you will know what I mean.
A server was a man with drinks
A Notebook was where you write
A click was done with fingers
And a reboot means you had a fight
Cyberspace was where the spaceships went
A screen saver was a cinema’s bodyguard
Traffic only happened in cars
And Spam always had a lot of lard
Java was a type of bean
Hacking was what an axe-man’s job,
A platform was where you sang
And a volley was a type of lob
Scan was to read really fast
A Monitor was a teacher
A shortcut was a dangerous way
And Shout-Outs done by preachers
Meg was the name of my girlfriend,
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things,
And that really mega bytes.
An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A cursor used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.
Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 inch floppy,
You hoped nobody would ever find out.
Compress was something you did to the garbage,
Not something you did to a file,
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived,
And a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider’s home,
And a virus was the flu.
I guess I’ll stick to my pen and paper,
And the memory in my head.
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash,
But when it happens they wish they were dead!
– The Age Before The Computer
by Devang Gandhi