The "text" language and the Orwellian language

Last July, during a trip to the Pyrenees, I listened absently to the France Culture station while the car was sliding down the road. An interview suddenly started to interest me. They made it to the restrained author of a book about the “text” language, that gibberish with which young people communicate with each other in Internet chats and mobile phone messages. The interviewee – a linguist and university professor from Paris – came to say that the need to save time and money at the time of writing any sentence has been the engine of the extraordinary flourishing of this metalanguage that was born as an appendix to the old languages ​​of the European culture The specific examples he gave in French (kkse for “qu’est-ce que c’est”, dm for “demain”, etc.) are transportable to Spanish. Let’s see: among many other innovations, the language “text” in our latitudes has replaced ll with and has eliminated the “unusable” accents, the spelling of some words (for example, “four” has definitely become 4, “by what »is pq,« more »is +,« above »is and so on) and has buried the letter h (who is interested in that rest of yesterday, which is not even pronounced?).

The real time of connection to the network – intercom or telephone – is expensive, the professor added (for whom everything seemed to be a matter of low budget) and the less young people take to transmit the message, the cheaper they get .

Faced with a position so little analytical, the journalist worried about the danger that what has started as a banal game, restricted to distance communication and a specific range of the population – teenagers -, one day to generalize due to the boom unstoppable computer equipment around us, but the respondent replied that the language “text” will probably coexist with the cultured, grammatical form of traditional writing, apparently disregarding the disturbing fact that more and more university students are European Union unable to express themselves correctly, in word or in writing, in different languages.

The immediate question arises here, of course: What is “expressing oneself correctly”? And, from it, another question derived: Is it not perhaps a retrograde stance, an opposition to individual freedom, to defend at all costs syntactic rules that come from feudal times? It is clear that the fact of posing the problem in such terms seems to carry in itself the germ of a healthy challenge, and we already know from Freud that to grow it is necessary to oppose. But does he really wear it?

During the last three decades, from the moment in which the world began its unstoppable acceleration, we have witnessed the discredit or the frank breaking of rules and principles, good and bad, that had needed centuries of calm setting. Family and social relationships, the concepts of authority, respect and coexistence have been pulverized or are unrecognizable, the physical distances between previously distant countries have been reduced and today nothing is the same as what we knew very recently. Why, then, would language not suffer the ravages of postmodernity? If culture, so appreciated once, has lost its place of privilege to be replaced by immediate superficial information – constantly renewed – if knowledge of history, of the knowledge transmitted by previous generations is already something so obsolete that school curricula they get rid of him like old shoes, isn’t it that we are entering a new era of humanity, which will definitely do away with much of the previous baggage to start from scratch a Huxleyano Brave New World?

A syrupy speech like this, with the concealment not innocent of any negative link, is the merchandise that the ultra-liberal defenders of ultraliberalism intend to sell us, wrapped in the halo of a supposed individual emancipation. However, the reality that is hidden behind such fallacies – the language “text” liberating the grammar chains is part of them, together with the supermarkets of the “free market”, the “rule of law” or the ” humanitarian wars »- is very different.

At this point in my presentation, the reader will allow me to copy here a long quote from George Orwell, extracted from the appendix of his overwhelming novel 1984 *, which defines the new language of the final stage of the social dictatorship: «The intention of The neo-language was not only to provide a means of expression to the worldview and mental habits of the Ingsoc devotees, but also to make other forms of thought impossible. What was intended was that the old forgotten language, any heretical thought, that is, a divergent thought of the principles of Ingsoc, be literally impens.


More information about Manuel Talens in Wikipedia.

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