By Warren Lee Nair
Social media is the kryptonite to the most widely spoken language in the world.
If you, as an adult, have had the opportunity to overhear a conversation between a group of youngsters lately, you would probably be as baffled as I am by some of the words that were being used; shocked at the vulgarity with which young people choose to speak. Words and phrases such as ‘bae, slaying, on fleek, and ratchet’ (together with a vulgar manner) are thrown back and forth as if we are all part of one enormous social media platform. How times have changed.
Twenty years ago there was no such thing as a smartphone, hardly anyone in our community knew about the internet or uncensored movies on television. Children were taught English at school and had to practice the proper delivery of the language with their parents once they returned home.
These days social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as hip hop music videos and movies have a stronger influence on young minds than parents or teachers do. Texting is now the preferred method of communication and as a result, words are often shortened, replaced with slang and trending phrases or left out altogether. I literally avoid conversing with most young people because of this. It seems as if a new ‘vocabulary’ has been created, one which is not endorsed by the English speaking society including teachers who try their very best to shape young minds by providing teachings on the leading language in the world. Parents, for the most part, no longer have the time to help their children with homework since both parties have to work to sustain a household.
These are most of the factors that contribute to the deterioration of the English language amongst our youth.
From pre-schoolers to young adults, our children continuously fuel this issue by forgetting the countless lessons they have received and becoming comfortable with social norms.
In the coming months of 2018, as we have seen in the past, this situation will only get worse with more youngsters being exposed to vulgar and inappropriate language which is becoming more accessible and acceptable as time goes on. This will surely have an impact their academic progress and future careers. Teachers, together with parents, will face an uphill battle of elocution as a language barrier is created between each generation.
We should all band together and do our part to ensure this beautiful language is not destroyed by setting good examples in our everyday lives while conversing face to face and on social media platforms, parents should take a stand to prevent their children from being exposed to the atrocious, barbaric misuse of this beautiful English language. Once we have disciplined the younger minds of our generation as well as our own, then we can all rest assured that the language we have all grown up learning, speaking and reading will not be a forgotten relic.