“Language is wine upon the lips” – Virginia Woolf

Quite a number of writers  might have talked about this, but here on WriteThinking we seem to have bloomed late on it- of words slain, mercilessly murdered with an ‘x’ as an axe! A massacre carefully planned by marauding linguistic beasts that pounce on unsuspecting letters, finding them undeserving and replacing them with ‘x’. Crossing them out! Words that originally slithered smoothly and easily through the tongue and the mind are potholed.

I have tried to pronounce these words made out of the x-insertion, trying to understand the beauty behind the style. Is it because these ‘xaxa’ ‘xema’ xana’ axing’ and the laix slither out of the tongue more smoothly than their originals ? Do they come out with less saliva, or do they smoothen out the rough alveolar ridge on their way out? That which renders these words artistic splendour fails me. Even in their physical form on paper, they scare! ‘ “Xaweni, Ctawai pohst qwa whall zenew tenor!!..”  It gets worse! Insertions, piercings in words.

Kindly do not confuse this with sheng. This right here is a spelling malfunction. I accept sheng as a language. And I know you do. Sheng is at the moment an almost fully developed language that carries with it the morphological, lexical, phonological and syntactic components that are known to make up a language. Seeing as language is never a static entity, sheng is a metamorphosis – an in-between that brings all languages together. A mediator to the compartmentalization of the tribal tongues that have over a while divided us. It is tolerable as long as it is used in the right place, seeing as it hasn’t and might never be accepted as an official medium of communication. Sheng  unlike the common believe is  not a language “principally spoken by the little educated, indolent, downright careless, drug-pushers or the unruly “ as my lecturer, Dr. John Mugubi once said.

The ‘x’ insertion however is something else. It is not an attempt to create an alternative language. It does not interfere much with the phonological or other components but it weevils its way into the spelling of an existing word. Whatever problems these people have with the ‘s’ to have to replace it with an ‘x’ in ‘sasa’ baffles me! Does it make writing faster? Is it a cool-people identifier?   I look at it as a product of laziness…unwillingness to spell..an attempt to spill over sms language into out-of-the-phone usage.

I wish the slayers of  these unsuspecting letters would know how hard it is to read this languagePerhaps they should feed it to those that know how to make their way through it. ‘Kenyan Miuzik 2ko juu 2 xana’ … I lose eyebrows trying to read that. You are never to be taken seriously if that is how you write. Placed in comparison with a rapper who boasts of being one because he has a tattoo, I’d rather the rapper, a million times and more.

What is sad is that the language is a product of the newbies in the social media. Those that just pressed join on the twitter and the Facebook pages. Aren’t these supposed to be persons of fully developed’ lingustibilities’ seeing as they are fresh from high school where verbs , connectors, phrases and the likes are taught?

Maybe we do have an excuse that Twitter limits us to 140 characters…but if you have so much to say, can’t you open a blog? It is free you know? And what is the excuse for Facebook? Hasn’t it offered you an option to tell tales that go back centuries and travel over to the present as an update? Give me an excuse for this..give it to me…and I promise I shall not believe you…because you are never to be taken seriously!

(In related news, there was an attempt pulled by a few tweeps weeks ago: an attempt geared towards reviving the wittiness that was twitter. It required tweeps to use catchy words. Those words that are too heavy for the pen and the tongue…where ‘home’ becomes ‘domicile’ and LOL becomes ‘Ripples of Hilarity’. This is a game I would love to play again. …it might also scare the Xoxerers away, you never know).