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Ever wondered what colloquial language is? And what its detrimental consequences in writing are?

In literature, colloquialism is the use of informal words, phrases or even slang in a piece of writing (Literature Devices: 2014). Phrases such as LOL, LMFAO, YOLO, OMG, WTF, et cetera have gained popularity online and offline among young people and lately, the old too. These phrases all have standardised meanings and are usually regarded as abbreviations used to save time when communicating or rather to express oneself. Colloquial language does not only include abbreviated words but also the shortening of words to communicate quicker in a short period of time. Colloquial language is usually used interchangeably with the word “slang”, which is related to slang but is not synonymous to the word slang. This is commonly used in social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp but just to mention a few and currently used via offline services like SMS (Short Message Services).

I do comprehend that colloquial language was highly if not mostly influenced by multiple participants one turns to engage with on his/her personal accounts, therefore the demand to communicating with all of them at the same time. For instance, one person would have a number of participants who on an online platform, usually on instant chat rooms at the same time share content and are engaging in interesting topics. These topics create wider and prolonging debates in groups, demanding speedily responses from participants, who are also communicating with others at that very moment. This then calls for the need to maintain relationships simultaneously and time is of important essence. But does this mean neglecting your writing abilities? I think this is not necessary. When I was in 12th Grade, preferably known as ‘matric’, the exposure of the then implemented and popular social media platform called ‘MXIT’ in South Africa created by multi cooperation News24 assisted on the simplicity and ability of engagement with families and friends. It then developed what became an excessive obsession and popular used language, termed “MXIT language”.  During this blunt growing writing style, I realised vast changing dimensions of writing and how detrimental this is impacting in one’s usage of language, from issues of poor spelling, poor writing skills, inappropriate writing in examinations or other different platforms and poor writing presentation in formal documents et cetera.

The reality is that its popularity is now treated like ‘normal and ordinary’ language. How could this be so when it is destroying language usage? From high school examination test to tertiary examinations, colloquial language is used. How then do we expect to pass? In work places unprofessional reports and documents fail to covey main objectives and aims as anticipated. One’s writing style says a lot about the writer and it is important.

Maybe writing in a colloquial style is not a bad thing to do but it certainly is no good. I am of the opinion that colloquial language has major consequences which include constantly forgetting the precise spelling of words, poor grammar, and informality on formal contexts and most significantly misinterpretation of what is being written therefore creating communication barriers and unfriendly communication environments.



  1. Interesting read. I’m a big fan of colloquial speech myself, but ultimately, I think it boils down to what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes you go high-brow, and sometimes you dive into the gutter. The important thing is to know when you want to do the one and when you want to do the other.


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