I found myself dry recently when we were to submit a love letter to our mentors as our first assignment as Pulse Wire correspondents. Reasons? I knew what to write but I didn’t know how best to convey it. Ever since mobile phones were introduced in my country some years ago with a feature called 'Short Message Service' (SMS), it has almost eroded my ability to be able to write in formal English. I have gotten used to SMessing (writing using shortened and coded words) so much that it was challenging writing continously without using the coded words.
The problem with this is that we are contributing to a 'language death.' I miss the sweet old days when we used to write long, creative fluent letters to each other employing creative and carefully chosen words. But all that is dying especially in my country where 'sheng' has taken centre stage in most of our communication. 'Sheng' is a hybrid language that is a mixture of English, kiswahili and some other native languages, was mostly common among youths but it has now gripped all ages.
Gone are the words like 'I hope you are doing well'. What you here is 'op u doin ok' and you rarely hear statements like 'you looked great yesterday'. Instead, you are likely to come up with something like 'u lkd gr8 ysta.' with this trend, most of us who use the SMS system always find it challenging to write in formal language.
Hey journeywomen, is it only in Kenya or is it happening anywhere else? What do we do?