Cameroon: Social Media Language Mutations

A new type of writing has developed, mixing letters with figures for economy of diction

The advent of social media has ushered a change in writing which is beginning to affect conventional language and at the same time hampering the ability of students to write properly in school. Out of the desire to make the messages snappy, people write combining letters with figures thereby giving birth to a new type of writing specifically used on Facebook or WhatsApp. It is common to see people write “from me 2 u” meaning from me to you; “UWC” meaning you are welcomed, “4 life” meaning for life, “kk” meaning okay or “sm1” to mean someone. The list is in exhaustive as the examples are abound. At times the messages is accompanied by emoji’s e.g. an emoji with closed lips would depict sadness; with the mouth wide open depicts happiness or laughter and a small red coloured heart to depict love. There are other emojis to depict other human emotions like confusion, likeness or disapproval or a flame to depict fire. The danger with this form of writing is that it is beginning to make inroads into conventional writing such as the French dis-indebtedness programme referred to as C2D, G8, G11, 24/7 meaning twenty-four hours a day weekly. Even companies are beginning to have names combining letters and figures such G4S Securitor, France 24, Canal 2, Africa 24 etc. Faced with this development, some parents are revolted that the social media is damaging the language skills of their children who can no longer write correct English of French. However, Fotachi Abel, a language expert say the drop in language proficiency is not due to the social media as a human being is capable of learning several languages at a time with one having an influence over the other. More so, he said this new type of writing is not taught in schools. As concerns the changes it can influence in language, the language expert says it is limited in that there is a committee that decides on which new words can be included in the dictionary every year depending usages born from new scientific discoveries such as the words ‘radar. He however admitted that language is dynamic and thereby subject to change over time. For instance, the English that was spoken during mediaeval times is different from the English language spoken or written today.


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Publish date : 2019-08-27 14:17:06

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