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by Michael A. Sisti
As part of the struggle of kids gaining independence from their parents, they always turned to special languages to communicate with their friends. I know I drove my parents crazy speaking Pig Latin with the kids in my neighborhood. Ancay ouyay eakspay igpay atinlay? (Itís much easier to read, than it was to translate as four young boys exchanged words in front of a confused adult.) The next "language" that became popular was Bop, which was developed by the inhabitants of the Boppanese Peninsula. Odop ouyop igdop opbop? I canít believe I could actually understand someone talking to me like that, but kids are adaptable.
Todayís youth have been raised on video games, computers and cell phones. They have electrons and cyber-bytes running through their veins. As a result they have turned to a whole new way of communicating. I was at a public swimming pool recently, where two young teenage girls were sitting in front of me having an animated conversation about, what else, boys. "Ohmygod, Ryan is like so totally awesome." "Yea, but I think his friend Justin is like so not good-looking. And he dances like a slug." Realizing that I was in earshot, the girls abruptly ceased their conversation and rushed to their cell phones. Instead of talking, they each started feverishly keying the buttons on their phone with their thumb, while holding the phone in the same hand. They could thumb type faster than I can with two hands. Then they would read a message as it scrolled on the tiny phone screen, and start keying again. I learned from my nine-year old grandson that they were text messaging. This text message communication took five times longer then talking or leaving a voicemail and it costs much more than voice communication. But so what? It was something that their parents were not doing, and they wouldnít understand the messages, even if they tried.
I then called my teenage granddaughter, Briana and had lunch with her at the mall (where else) to learn about text messaging and chat talk. I asked her to send me a couple of emails in her new text message language. When my wife Sara read the first one she said, "Arenít these kids learning anything in school these days? Her grammar and spelling are atrocious."
The dance was sooo fuun .... and my dstrssd jeans are awsom omg i love them they are my new favorite jeans hahaha. Thanks for giving me some moeny to buy them! i'll have to get you a text message between me and my friend taylor hahaha .... ok well g2g and get ready i am giving tours at my schools open house today. So i'll talk to you guys later ... byeee bbs
heey grandpa !!
ok well heres a text message for you its from me and my friend taylor hahaha ok so i sent to her.
so taylor sent back to me
Well, it sure beats Pig Latin.
Mike Sisti is a forty-year veteran in the marketing communications field. Most recently he served as Chief Communications Officer at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Mike and his wife Sara divide their time between Narragansett, Rhode Island and Sarasota, Florida.