Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mind Your Language

The above episode reminded me of how important language and community is. Trying to get people who are foreign to the language to understand it is a struggle but always leads to interesting interpretations. This is not so much different to what we are currently experiencing with people trying to understand the Chat or MXit language.

On the Advice Support Network (ASN) service we speak to thousands of youth and it is interesting to see their interpretations of the chat language. Having conversations such as:

Me: Hi. Welcome to DAS how r u doing?
@mxit: hi. gd thx u?
Me. Well thanx. What r u up 2?
@mxit: libl2mnjc

With conversations containing chat acronyms such as libl2mnjc (laying in bed listening to music and just chilling) and wuu2n (what are you up to now) does cause us to mind our language. With many parents who see their children on MXit and even when they do see the conversations they still need an interpreter to try and understand what the conversation is about. We could easily have a Mind Your Language back but this time instead of teaching the international language of English we could be teaching "Chat language" to the millions out there who would like to get a better understanding of it.

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