Sudden Illiteracy! OMG! WTF is Happening?
Starting two years ago, we have noticed a sudden change in the way our younger clients communicate.
We have always treated our younger clients as adults, even if they required parental consent. We have the client sign the release contract, then the parent ratifies their signature. Beginning in 2010, we have had increasing numbers of younger clients (under 18) and some not so young, who had no idea what a 'signature' is. ("Does that mean I have to write my name in cursive?")
Although every new generation develops their own language, I have never known one to change the meaning of words to confuse the meaning. New words for the same thing? Yes. Applying a secondary or hidden meaning to a common word? Yes. Not understanding the basic meaning of a common word? No! For example:
"How much for your navel piercings?"
When asked this question, we include the price of jewelry and its installation in un-pierced skin. What the kids are looking for is a quote on the navel jewelry. They seem to have dropped words like jewelry, ring, barbell or bar, from their everyday vocabulary, and 'piercing' is used as a subsitute, in spite of the fact that they need a noun for the hole in their body, or the act of creating the hole.
"Do you have any gauges? Yes but not as many as the dashoard of the space shuttle!" A 'gauge' is a measuring system or device. The thickness of body jewelry is specified using the Brown & Sharp or American Wire system.
Again they seem to have dropped jewelry, plugs, tunnels, tapers etc. from their vocabulary. And then they want to 'gauge' their ears. I am sure they mean to 'stretch' their piercings so they can insert 'thicker jewelry', But maybe they really want to measure their ears!
English is a rich language, but it seems that the newer generations are intent on eliminating words. Maybe precision of meaning is not as important to them as it is to me, But if I were them, I would spend a little more effort on being understood before I complained that no-one understands.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I invite you to share your experiences and views.
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