Each generation, since the dawn of Beowulf, has added new words to the English language. This is nothing new. The sixties generation brought us such delightful descriptors as "groovy" and "hippie," while the seventies rocked us out with "super-fly" and a new thing called "disco." The eighties generation chimed in with such new words as "gnarly" and "radical," while the nineties gave us "grunge" and "bling" all in the same decade. The dawn of the 21st century brought us the "internet" and "ipods" and "cells," and with each increasing technology, new words are popping up all over the place.
As an English teacher at a high school, I am privvy to all of the new words being spoken and written by soon-to-be-adults. Let me tell you: they are not that promising. This generation doesn't seem to want to create new words; no, that would be too time consuming when the next level of Guitar Hero or Halo needs to be conquered and American Idol is about to start. Instead, this generation seems to enjoy bastardizing current English words, mostly by shortening them or creating easier words to remember.
For example, take the word conversation: "We had a conversation. At lunch, we conversed." Conversed is the correct past form of conversation in this example. However, what I hear constantly is: "We had a convo. At lunch, we conversated." What are these children doing to the English language? Sometimes they shorten words to make them sound cooler or easier to say and then complicate a more simplistic word like conversed. It is hardly even recognizable at points, what with the text language and abbreviations being used now. Kids can't even write out words like you and your; they write them "u" or "ur". I know we abbreviated with as w/ in my day, but c'mon, gimme a break! :) TTYL, WTF, LOL, POS...what does it all mean?
As someone on the frontlines of the changing English language, I will be the first to say that though each generation has added it's own list of new words, I think that for the first time, this generation, without even trying, has created post-modern English, as it so rarely resembles anything I call modern, formal English. I knew we wouldn't have modern English around forever, as everything eventually changes, but I didn't think that it would go the way of abbreviations.
It kind of hurts my soul to think that even Elizabethan English would befall this tragedy of shortening, as "To be or not to be, that is the question" would become "2 B or nt 2 B that is the ?". I fear that instead of enhancing the language, these changes will make reading one long series of interpreting what letters stand for rather than what the words mean and stand for. As a lover of literature, this pains my heart and makes me hope that this, too, shall pass.