Does technology make us lazy with our words?

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STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

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It’s a surreal moment when your innocent offspring spouts a word that you hoped they would never learn, at least not until they’re much older – adults even.

So I’m sure you can imagine how pleased I was when my six-year-old came home from school announcing he knew the F-word.

He even knew how to spell it. I don’t know about you, but we spelt words like apple and cat in tests when I was at school. How things change.

It must be exciting for children, who are learning new words at a pace that would put London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang to shame, when they come across one that sparks such a horrified expression on their parents’ faces. They know straight away it’s a word they must never repeat, but children being children, you can see the appeal.

While reaffirming it is NOT a word any child should be using – even if correctly spelt – it seems best not to make too big a deal of it so they don’t realise they’ve stumbled across something that could make adults very, very, cross.

When they aren’t shocking you with knowledge of words beyond their years, they’re making up new sayings and annoying acronyms that some of us less savvy lot have to try to decipher.

These trends are how new words get introduced into language and as much as I dislike it, I know one day ‘lol’ will be a word in its own right and people will forgot that it was once an acronym. It will become a verb and before you know it we’ll be ‘loling’ at all the mildly amusing things that happen, the ones where a smiley face icon just wouldn’t cut it.

I see how these things have come about – it’s easy to mistake meaning when there’s no visible emotion to back it up, but it’s the actual sayings that puzzle me.

If I actually did PMSL I’d be pretty embarrassed about it to be honest and I certainly don’t think I’d be announcing it on Facebook. Isn’t that what they invented Tena Lady for?

And what’s with spending your early years at school learning how to spell only to grow up and immediately forget it all, barely able to muster the effort to write out whole words? So lazy it’s lolable really.

Technology has a lot to answer for. I’m sure I used to be much better at spelling before I started using computers. In the same way that I used to be good at memorising phone numbers until mobiles came along and I lost the ability to rely on my own brain.

Personally I think it’s sad we have all these devices that do everything for us, though for the life of me I can’t remember how we used to do things before.

I’ll have to Google it later and get back to you.

I’m sure in the ’90s we baffled parents with language as much as today.

Maybe one day we’ll have real time spell-checkers that correct our speech with little red squiggly lines as we say it, or at least sensor and translate the concoctions coming from the mouths of the latest generation.

That really would make me laugh out loud.