“Innit” a shame.

Posted on February 21, 2010


Recently, I have become increasingly alarmed by the proliferation of stupidity that seems to be so prevalent in the World these days. This seems to be manifest in the way in which the language is being so radically altered. It is easy to point fingers and lay the blame, but who is really responsible for this? Are kids responsible for butchering the language? Are they dumbing down? Is it a natural progression of the language, or is it that we failing them by not providing adequate education?

Some berate the fact that kids speak in “txt spk”, whilst others defend this as the adaptation of the language, stating that as long as they are clearly understood, then we should accept these linguistic changes. Indeed, some schools in this country believe it is acceptable to use such language in an exam. Is it any wonder the results are improving?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the language adapting. After all, english is one of the most dynamic languages in the World. Look at the development of english throughout history. We don’t readily understand Chaucer’s english today, but we can look back and chart the language’s development, and it is this evolution and dynamism of the language that keeps it interesting. However, these changes are often gradual. It is the smaller colloquial solecisms that generally find their way into the approved vernacular. My writing is full of grammatical errors, but mostly it would be considered to be “good” english. So, whilst I recognise the need for accepting change, I think these changes should be less extreme. “Innit” should not be in the dictionary, surely?

There are times I find myself sounding like a grumpy old man, but I really don’t mean to. The truth is that I don’t understand half of what kids in London are saying, and they seem to have developed an accent that has its roots in Cockney and the Caribbean. Is it any wonder I feel lost? The divide between generations has not been this wide since the Baby Boom.

I’m sure this would all be well and good if it were merely a question of words and accents, but it isn’t. It is a matter of attitude. There seems to be a remarkable lack of respect for others, whilst at the same time kids are clamoring for it themselves. It seems there is a general attitude that they deserve whatever it is they want, and that the youth of this country are collectively sharing the burden of a generational chip on their shoulders. Theirs is not a cry of “you should not ask for so much,” rather a cry of “hey, why not ask for more?” If the Baby Boomers’ mantra was “Love Thy Neighbour,” then Generation Y’s would be “Love Thyself,”  although the probably would rephrase that as “what about me?”

One only has to look for proof of this on the internet. Facebook is a prime example of the shameless self promotion and vacuous need for personal endorsement that seems to be the raison d’être of today’s youth. And, yes, I am well aware of the inherent irony of making such a statement in a blog. However, there is a difference. Tweeting what you ate for breakfast is a long way from writing a review of a book or a film. Look at YouTube videos. Have you ever taken the time to read through the comments? If ever there was a more damning indictment of how far we have sunk, both in terms of intelligence and literacy, it is in the comments below a YouTube video.

A comment I read yesterday when looking at a video on Steve McQueen's Ferrari Lusso.

However, whilst we can complain about the appalling decline of language and general intelligence, the onus is upon us to set the example and to educate, just as much as it is the responsibility of kids to want to learn. Complaining about the decline in society never made society better. Unfortunately, Gen X never thought they’d have to deal with any of this. So, rather than be miserable and lament the state of affairs, I will endeavour to do whatever I can to improve the situation. That is, until I read the next comment under a YouTube video.


Posted in: Editorial