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Oct 26, 2016

Should English Graduates Use Abbreviations And Shorthand On Social Media?


   
A senior colleague of mine, Sarah Daba Wilson, is of the view that graduates of English language shouldn't use shorthand and abbreviations while typing or chatting on social media in order to improve their formal writings. Her candid opinion spurred graduates, undergraduates and learners of English to also give their candid opinions on the subject matter which were 'for' and 'against' her stance.

Check out these comments and if need be, state your stance:

My Senior Colleague's (Sarah's) Stance:

In any medium of communication, language is used and in every language there are varieties. It therefore suffices to say that no matter the medium chosen, of which social media is one, there are factors that greatly influence users. 

There is the age variation, social variation, class variation, ethnic variation, personal variation, professional variation. The point is that language varies according to users. 
Now back to my point which says

"Graduates of English should stop writing in shorthand."

No one can authoritatively tell me that "shorthand writing" is a variety of English language. If you ever opine it is a 'social media' form of expression, please can you kindly tell me what class of people have the 'exclusivity' of social media usage? Mind you, people also write text messages, emails and letters in shorthand. So it is not a social media language feature.

Is this shorthand writing always understood by parties in a discourse on social media? I can tell you most of the time, the answer is a resounding 'NO'. How do you communicate with abbreviations like 'idgaf', 'idk', 'wtf', 'Kk', 'Aiit', 'ttul', 'ilv', 'lmdfa', etc to a social media users that does know the meaning? If we cannot use 'short tongue' when speaking, why use 'shorthand' when writing?

I still maintain my stand!!!
And that stand is distinct. As graduates of English language we should develop the habit of not always writing in shorthand because it would not speak well of us when we communicate. It is even worse when you write that way in a formal situation. From experience, I have taught a couple of young people as part time work and I discovered the vast majority of our young people are prone to writing that way. Some of the common words I come across are:

u for You, bcs for because, jst for just, cm for come, tnx for thanks, the list is endless.

In conclusion, I reaffirm that though shorthand writing seems  a more comfortable yet frivolous way to write it should be greatly discouraged.


Comment by Tammy's English and Literary Blog:

Variation is part and parcel of any language hence the different dialects of all languages. In fact, it is one the instruments that is used in measuring a language that is widely spoken. The use of social media brought another variety of the English language(the social media English/Language of social media). Like other varieties of the English language, this variety has its distinct features. It is a variety that is spiced with shorthand and abbreviations, simple sentence structure  and mostly used among youths.

The question is: do users of this variety understand themselves? If yes, I don't see any reason why we should stop or advise them from using the orthography of the variety. Putting a stop to or asking users of this variety to stop the use of abbreviations and shorthand on social media while chatting or typing is like altering the orthography of the language and at the same time, telling a Nigerian to stop communicating in pidgin English which is of course, impossible.

Though this variety is not acceptable in formal writings, it has no doubt easily expressed the thoughts of many. Therefore, I will advise, the popular saying, 'when you go to Rome behave like the Romans' be applied. Everyone (English graduates inclusive) should be entitled to use any of these varieties depending on the environment since language is situational.

In sum, I don't see anything wrong in using abbreviations and shorthand on social media as long as the users can understand themselves but its users should try as much as possible not to let it affect their formal writings. I don't also see its use as an outdated model.

Comment by Joy Iwuchukwu Daniels:

Reading  through the conversation and debate on the use of shorthand it behoves me to lend my voice to the argument, first of all we must know that we have what we call "language of social media", its  usage  is solely dependent  on the  sociolinguistic variable- age.this is evident because despite the fact that we have language of the social media we find out this style of language is usually used by youths , people of a certain age bracket while the adults prefer the correct usage....... while i do not subscribe to its continuous usage ,I find myself using it as far as their is communication between the co-interactant....I also concur with my bro @Ayitams, we must learn to put a line between informal and formal discussion,if you feel you cant then desist from the use or else you will have yourself to blame...As for my lovely concern users of English just know that it is just a fad.

Comment by Ayitams Clement:

Well, shorthand is used in informal writings, and social media, as far as we are all concerned, is an informal platform hence the abbreviations and 'shorthand' words we get to come across on a daily basis. Individually I'm careful enough to not let it affect my formal writings, so to me, it's not a problem. As an English graduate I am entitled to the use of shorthands and abbreviations on social media. That's my take on the issue though.

Comment by Hymar Idibie David:

It is outdated and juvenile. And if you don't watch it, it becomes a habit. You find yourself making shorthand mistakes in formal writing.

Wetin una wan use the 2 seconds una save by writing thru instead of through do?

Comment by Emy Josephs:

This is so true. Haba! Me I don't get it sef! I don't have a problem with Shorthand. But it would be a lot easier if everybody (non English graduates inclusive) can just spell their words in full.

 Comment by Pr'ttycious Okwu:

Is so chronic now dat I even use it in formal writings. I keep cancelling, making my work look rough.But den is faster. I subscribe to laziness.

What is your take on this debate?


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