Monday, April 11, 2011

And U and I?

I’m no linguist, but I know that language evolves.  The way English is spoken and written today is clearly different from the ways in which it existed hundreds of years ago.  The same is true for other languages.  New words are sometimes introduced, while some words fall out of common use. 

What makes any particular change in language acceptable?  I don’t think it’s up to the dictionary.  Not exactly.  I think the use of a word or phrase reaches a tipping point.

There are already some words, phrases, and acronyms/abbreviations that have come into common use because of mobile phone text messaging.  Not all of them seem like winners to me, but there’s one in particular I think I can defend.

If the word I use for myself is “I” – one single letter that is as clear as can be – why is it somehow wrong for the word I use for you to be, well, “U”.  I know that a sea of the best literature, as well as letters, newspapers and magazines have been filled with the word “you” for as long as anyone alive today can remember.  And for a lot longer than that.  But so what?  What if this is the moment in time where “you” transforms to “u” for all uses, and does so in a way in which it is just as acceptable in High School English class as it is in the text message my teenager sends to me?

You becomes U.  Your becomes Ur.  I suppose You’re becomes U’re.  Maybe even U’r.
U mean the world to me.   I love u.  U are the sunshine of my life.

I think I’m already getting used to it.  How about u?

Please post your comments and thoughts.


  1. I'll concede this if U stop using two spaces after each sentence. kthxbai!

  2. lol. I'm an old dog. That's a new trick, Mr. Avocado.

  3. I couldn't agree more...although if we are going to change our language, how about legitimizing y'all, which I suppose in your proposed changes might now be u'all (maybe this could be the northern variety instead of youse, etc). The second person plural exists in most languages in a simple form. Saying "all of you" rather than the simple y'all isn't efficient. Buy hey, while we're at it, I would advocate a return to 16th Century spelling - spelling any which-a-way you chuse.

  4. Don't know how changes become official in the English language, but I've been told that in France it is the Academie Francaise that makes these decisions.
    Wouldn't surprise me if our language becomes more efficient, along with our technology.

  5. @ deke, this is a gr8 post. i hope ur will b spending lots of time in the hamptons this summer bc i want 2 visit u where ur there.