Posts tagged ‘cellphone phone shortcuts name_of_god’

From my brother: “For God’s sake, mind the Shift key. And the # key”

Hi all,

This is from my brother Peter Asivatham. Enjoy!

John Kanagaraj

For God’s sake, mind the Shift key. And the # key.
peter_asirvatham @ yahoo.co.in

Blame it on the mobile phone if you like to, the English language in SMS form is taking a beating in the hands of youngsters these days. Some of these SMS text messages baffle me. Sometimes without a re-read I cannot get the message of the text. Like the time I received one from a niece of mine some months ago. I was reading the Bible one morning when my mobile phone beeped announcing the arrival of a message and I diverted my attention to it from Moses pleading with The LORD for the Israelites. “Pls snd 2days msg i deltd it” read the message. It has been my practice for about three years now to send Bible verses by SMS every morning to family and friends. Apparently my niece had deleted some messages in her Inbox by accident and requested me to resend them. I promptly replied, “Which two days, yesterday’s and today’s?” and returned my attention to Moses. Within a few seconds my niece replied by resending the same message. This time I put Moses away and gave my full attention to the message. After re-reading I replied, “O my God. 2days as in today’s! Sorry, usage of numbers in words had me confused.” Back came the cryptic reply, “S”. Going to my Sent folder, I forwarded the verse of the day to her. There was no return message thanking me for the good deed done interrupted me as I resumed my study of Moses, but that was ok.

Technology is changing the way we communicate with others using the written word. There was a time when the Telegram – a short message sent by Morse code from one post office to the receiving post office, hand delivered to the addressed by a postman, even in the dead of night – was considered the fastest mode of communication. Today the humble SMS has taken that slot delivering similar messages right to the hand of the addressed, within the country or without.

Telephones were a rarity those days and it was the humble hand-written mail which people used to keep in touch with their loved ones. The written word held an important place in our lives those days.
Not that words have lost their importance these days, but they are mutilated and abused in many email and SMS messages. Sentences are constructed grossly, many times with a liberal sprinkling of numbers and character symbols in words. Punctuation and capitalisation, which give meaning and importance to words in sentences, are ignored. To some extent the Internet is to be blamed for this ignorance, for the World Wide Web used to be very case-sensitive. You have to type your email ID and password in lower case only to gain access to your mail box. Thanks to the Internet, the “lower case” has become popular.

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439 and the Reformation started by Martin Luther in the middle of the 15th century are two events in history that had made the Word of God – The Bible – accessible to the layman.

With The Bible becoming the first book to be printed, other books were printed and soon this technological revolution fostered education like never before. Learning starts for toddlers with the alphabets – A, B, C, and then word associations: A for Apple, B for Ball and so forth. Learning to write follows learning the words. Stringing words together to form sentences that make sense follows learning words and writing. It is here that punctuations and capitalisation of words play the role that they are destined to play – i.e. to make sense. It is not my intention to insult your intelligence by going back to the basics of learning to write, but the whole point of the article is the importance of punctuations and capitalisation. Let me give just an illustration: the words “gods”, “Gods” and “God’s,” though they sound the same, obviously mean three different things.

Some years ago I peeked into Judaism to see what it says about the Divine. One of the first things that struck me was the way the word ‘God’ is written-“G_d”. There are some reasons why devout Jews drop the vowel “O” in the word “God”, but whatever the reasons maybe, there is a deeper meaning in this: when you come across the word it makes you pause and think, at least for a second about the Divine: What an awesome God our Creator is! The opening chapter of The Bible describes the love and affection God has for mankind. He took five days to make and provide a beautiful home for man and then, on the sixth day created man in his own image! Many times we do not accord God the respect that he truly deserves. Many times we take God for granted.

Many teachers and sociologists are worried about the way “SMS lingo” has crept into students’ writings, even in examinations. I’m not, for one moment, concerned about abbreviations of words. We all use quite a few of them in everyday speech and writings. For example: the letters 400 BC stands for 400 years “Before Christ” and AD for “Anno Domini” (The year of Our Lord). I’m concerned about the wholesale slaughter of words and sentences – butchered and truncated. I’ve received emails and SMS text messages from youngsters written with utter disregard for punctuations and capitalisation-with words like, “gods luv” and, “lord jesus christ”.

Does it really matter how we write our text messages and emails? Would God take offense if he is mentioned with a lower case “g” or “l”? How do you react when somebody misspelled or mispronounced your name? Or your parents’ or spouse’s or childrens’ names?

God alone knows how many English Queens and teachers would turn in their graves the way the English language is abused, not out of ignorance but out of convenience.

Blessings!

Peter Asirvatham

If you have any comments, please click on the link below to send them my way!

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pQs4SrVw55Be49HaaB28Kew

December 24, 2008 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment


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