Technology entering daily speech

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not long ago I wrote a column about online etiquette. Just the basics, don’t write in all capital letters because that’s the equivalent of yelling, think carefully before you hit the send button and so on. But I didn’t think about how technology affects our everyday speech. So with the lingo from a tech guy at the school who loves to stir the conversation and the help of one of our English teachers I soon found myself in a quandary about what is the right and wrong use of technology words in our everyday language.

One of the ladies at the lunch table mentioned that she had gotten a recipe “offline.” The computer guy was quick to point out that might not be the way to say it, after all you are online when you get the recipe, read the story, etc. so is it better to say “I got the recipe online or off of the Internet?”

We quickly moved onto the dilemma of texting. Even now writing this column my spell check is quick to underline in red the word texting. It also doesn’t like the word texted. But what are you doing when you are sending a written message via your phone but texting? And what if you just finished, don’t you say “I texted him?” Our consensus with much help from the English teacher was that you may write the word texted,” but when you say it you don’t emphasize the suffix “ed.” As the kids say “whatev.”

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That in itself is a new language twist I hear all the time. The use of incomplete words such as whatev, s’up and others. Funny thing is I understand what they mean and I used to flinch when they were used, now I guess I’ve become accustomed to the slang but I wonder how long it will be before those words creep into everyday usage.

My daughter’s term paper was due this week. A couple of nights ago another mom asked me if I knew how to write a source if it was from the Internet. Unfortunately I had to tell her that I didn’t know they were written any differently.

The Internet, texting even our satellite service opens doors to places we used to have no idea even existed, much less had access to. With all the cool things technology brings to you and your family there is also another side to all of this. Let your computer get a virus, invaded by spyware and you will be astonished at the graphic material that will pop up when you try to get online to check your e-mail. Does your child have a cell phone? Take five minutes and ask them how many numbers are in their phonebook. Try not to go crazy when they say 250, but then ask them if they really know those people or are some of them friends of friends. Because now when one of them texts a blanket party invitation to everyone in their phonebook, your child will get one, or if they send a group text of graphic pictures or material, your child will receive it.

I’ve said it before and I know my own children are tired of hearing it, but it still bears repeating, technology is a wonderful thing but it doesn’t have any of its own boundaries so we have to set them. And figuring out if it’s text or texted is the least of our worries.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at