• Wed, Sep 26 2012

STFU Parents: 4 Examples Of Unintelligible Parental Language Butchery On Facebook

Something we see far too often on social media are status updates that I categorize as “language butchery.” Language Butchery is a pretty straightforward term, but it can apply to many different types of updates. The updates might be full of spelling and grammar errors, or lacking punctuation, or written in ALL CAPS, or just completely nonsensical, but the thing they all have in common is a general lack of clarity. It could take the average Facebook scroller two, three, or 10 reads to understand what the hell a language butcherer is talking about, and even then those answers might not be making any sense. I’ve tried pretty hard to interpret some submissions that are totally illegible (if that word can apply to type), and in the end I’m left scratching my head in utter confusion.

What’s interesting about these types of updates is that they sound like they were written by people who aren’t educated, or perhaps whose first language wasn’t English, but much of the time that isn’t the case. In fact, I’ve received emails from submitters who go on and on about how so-and-so has a Master’s degree and was working on her PhD before she had kids, but ever since then she’s been writing “like a baby” or “like she’s ghetto” on Facebook. I don’t understand the correlation there, because I refuse to believe that women suddenly want to dumb themselves down after having kids, but I’ve heard that same description from several submitters.

What I wonder is, what causes some people to use stream of consciousness on social media, while others (like myself, I’ll admit) read through their updates at least twice before publishing them? I’ve even deleted tweets because of an overlooked typo. Granted, my mother was an English teacher who wielded a red pen for 30 years, but still, the lack of concern for what others think — or whether they’ll be able to understand what was written — is baffling to me. I don’t think anyone should feel like s/he has something to “prove” on social media, but I’ve always tried to post updates that don’t make me sound like an idiot. The people who commit language butchery, however, are oblivious to what they sound like. They actively don’t care, either because of apathy or because they’re in a moment of anger or because they just don’t know any better.

Inarguably, language butcherers write some of the most entertaining updates on Facebook. There’s an undeniable joy people feel when they’ve scrolled through several political rants and a few baby pics and maybe some Bible scripture, only to land at a fine example of incomprehensible language butchery. In a way, these are the updates that make participating in social media worth it, but at the same time, they serve a stark reminder that some people really are fucking DUMB. Or crazy. Or too dumb to know they’re crazy, or too crazy to care about being dumb. Regardless, much like stupid abbreviations in text messaging, language butchery status updates are here to stay. Here are some examples.

1. Verb Tense Agreement

STFU Parents I emailed the person who submitted this to make sure Jenny didn’t grow up speaking another language, and the submitter wrote back, “She’s American born, and English was her first language. She’s just…a wreck. She speaks the SAME as she writes.” Judging by the impromptu capitalization of SAME, I’m guessing Jenny is best avoided at parties.

Share This Post:
  • Justme

    These make my brain hurt. I can’t even bring myself to abbreviate when I text my husband much less when I post something to Facebook. Ugh.

    • Amber

      I’m the same way. Even when I’m in a hurry I can’t bring myself to text “u”, “r”, etc. I don’t understand how anyone thinks it’s cool or whatever to write/type this way.

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      Same here… My parents and I use the single-letter abbreviations to add a bit of goofy humor to our exchanges once in a while, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to use them more seriously. *shudder*

    • RCIAG

      What makes me crazy about the whole “u” & “r” thing is that then they usually spell out some long ass word like “motherfucker” & spell it correctly!!

  • Eileen

    Dude, my father didn’t learn English (his third language) until his 20s, when he charmed his way out of taking ESL courses in college, and he still writes (and speaks) better than this. Ugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649384691 Stacey Lay

    Reading that crap makes me insane. Unfortunately, I have several friends on FB who write similarly…and my eyes just glaze over. They KNOW better!!

  • MGee

    Sadly, I knew exactly what Amber was talking about without the explanation at the bottom. I guess I have seen too much Maury.

  • http://twitter.com/DuchessCadbury The Right Honourable

    I have friends who write like this and sadly, I heard their voices when reading this. Many times we blame the kids, but it’s their parents who they’re getting this from.

    • AshDash

      At a certain point they are adults and are capable of educating themselves. She’s 24 years old. She claims to work and go to school so she should know better. Or at least I think “goin to college, work to support my family” means.

  • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

    I can’t even comment lolcryingforever

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Am seriously in tears ” ever takes her ditch soakin arson fantasies” oh god cryin’

    • STFUParents

      That one is pretty crazy.

  • LinZoo

    GO DISMISS UR SELF! Awesome.

  • Guest

    I’m glad God planned for everybody, could he (or she) at least have given a heads up to our government trying to help the struggling families out? Then maybe they could have planned a better “socialist” program for the moochers we’ve got bleeding our system. The government is not your baby’s daddy.

    • Sammi

      Okay, I’m still hoping this was a poorly worded joke but I’m gonna treat it like it wasn’t as dictated by the rules of the internet. I work at a children’s clinic for uninsured/under-insured families and this attitude doesn’t help anyone. Well, I guess it helps you feel special and somehow successful or like a good person. Cause surely if it wasn’t for your fantastic work ethic and morals, you’d be sitting pretty on mounds of government money too, right? Just livin’ the dream? The dream of being too scared of getting that new job cause it may make too much, but not quite enough. Which means your benefits may be taken away by the arbitrary “not poor enough” laws. Meaning you lose your ability to get housing, food or healthcare for you and your kids. What amazes me is that people are so quick to begrudge someone living in poverty a couple hundred dollars in food stamps a month, but completely ignore the billionaires who don’t even pay taxes (guess who makes up the difference!) and send all their jobs overseas to save even more money for themselves. One of these groups has more than enough power to change, one is just trying to survive.
      Having financial struggles and poor parenting are not the same thing.

    • AP

      There’s a difference between “having financial struggles” and “having tons of babies without regard for your financial situation.” I’ll happily help out anyone who’s fallen on hard times. I will, however, balk at someone who’s fallen on hard times and keep spitting out babies like condoms were never invented.

  • caitlin cook

    Most frightening part of this is that someone who would change her last name to PreqoMommiiee not only has a child but has another on the way.

    • thisgirl

      read her Facebook page. seriously…so so scary. She posted about her concern because she said *fuck* and her little man said *uck*….

    • Ordinaryperson

      Creepy…
      Anyway, swearing on its own doesn’t make that person a bad parent. They’re just words, and if her children are fed, loved, and happy, who gives a fuck if they swear.

    • STFUParents

      Please don’t discuss a person’s page in the comments. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505770748 Christine Gritmon

    “…and even then those answers might not making any sense.”
    I’m going to give you some credit here and assume that was a little joke (albeit a potentially subconscious one).

    “…some submissions that are totally illegible (if
    that word can apply to type)”
    “Unintelligible” or “incomprehensible” would work here.

    Grammar Nazi OUT!!!

    • Ellen

      It wasn’t worth it.

    • STFUParents

      1. The first one is a typo.
      2. That part is a joke.

    • Justme

      Methinks someone’s Facebook statuses have been on STFUParents…

  • Julie

    The fourth one takes the cake. I can’t get over the comments in that one though- “the only people that matter what you think are your kids” ??? At least those are all complete words, so she’s got that going for her.

  • Stacy G.

    You know, I’m gonna be the loser and say this kinda bothers me. I don’t care for the grammar nazi and language butchery posts like this. This has nothing to do with them being annoying parents. It’s that they are not meeting the standards of a professional writer in a facebook status update. Not everyone had an English teacher for a mom,
    B. Some people are dyslexic, some are just lazy, and others just don’t feel the need to meet your
    standards of literary facebook excellence. It’s just such a petty reason to judge someone you don’t know. Though, I guess I’m sensitive because I’ve always been a poor speller and pretty bad with grammar. Even after two degrees, I still haven’t mastered the finer points (they were science degrees though). When something is important I will have friends I trust help me edit but most days I just let my poor comma use and creative spellings go. Being more prone to errors like this doesn’t make me or these women incredibly stupid, pathetic, or worthy of attack.

    I do love your blog though. This is just my 2cents.

    • CleaK

      I don’t know if this is quite the elitist issue you seem to think it is. B isn’t chiding anyone for improper comma uses or even minor spelling mistakes; her issue seems to be with the completely unintelligible.

      I will be the first to admit that my spelling is atrocious. However, being aware of that, I will also be the first to take advantage of the red squiggles and fix my errors. I try to make sure my point comes across as clearly as possible and, judging on your response, you do too. It is not too much to ask for basic coherency in writing, despite where your commas may fall. The fact of the matter is, that people will judge you based on your writing, especially online, and to think otherwise is foolish. To be offended when someone points out that fact comes across a little oversensitive.

      Sidenote: The lady in the second post drives me crazy and only slightly because of her grammar. To leave the office of doctor because he is annoyed that he has to try to be heard over your children (who probably don’t belong there anyway) is ridiculous. He probably is going back and forth to try to get the labs so that he can actually have enough information to treat/diagnose. She’s probably the type of patient that will call back a week later, when her problems persist, demanding to be seen that day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

      I can see where you are coming from in a way. Picking on people because they speak or write differently than us, especially when there are issues of privilege or social inequality involved isn’t fun. However, the first point in each post is that the lady in question is crazy. Just as crazy as anyone else B posts about. They have a BONUS level of WTF because we can’t understand their crazy ramblings. Poor comma use and creative spellings are not what this post is about – it’s about a general lack of care to take the time to get your point across to your “readers”.

      There’s no great way to deal with the fact that there is a “correct” way to write and speak, but a large piece of our population doesn’t speak or write that way (whether it’s a class/social issue or a second language issue). It keeps the people in possession of that language in positions of power. Sure, people can say “those other people should just talk/write more correctly, it makes them seem uneducated, of COURSE no one will hire them” but that’s not really a socially conscious answer. I don’t know what the answer is, but this is a long enough post/tangent already.

      TL;DR – I don’t think simply language mistakes gets you on STFUP, I think being crazy and not giving a shit about your comprehendability does.

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      It’s not socially conscious to use a blanket disability term to describe behavior that others are sneering at, either. People with disabilities have the least power in our society; using disability terms as insults helps sustain that power gap in an even more fundamental way than suggesting people adopt the language of those in power, as it establishes members of that group not only as Other, but as inferior Other.

      I’m not ticked off or upset, to be clear… I’m responding because you presented the “crazy” explanation as if it was some kind of established fact, then went on ironically to say that the “learn proper English” attitude is problematic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

      If you are referring to the word “crazy”, that’s just… crazy. Crazy is not a disability. Crazy is an adjective. There are legitimate terms for disabilities – none of which involve the word crazy. Crazy can mean a million different things, but none of them are things that I think anyone would associate with a real mental illness or disability unless they were from the 1920s and people still went to “loony bins”.

    • Leigha7

      I fail to see how being able to speak/write English properly (and I don’t mean PERFECTLY, but on the level that all the comments here are on, even if they have some grammar and spelling errors) is an issue of class. I hear people say it, but I don’t buy it, not at all. I grew up in a community were the average salary was only slightly above the poverty line. At least 2/3 of the kids at my school were on free or reduced lunch. I’m friends with many of these people on Facebook, and all but a few use perfectly fine English (and those who don’t tend to be doing it on purpose to sound “ghetto,” which is ridiculous since they’re from an incredibly small rural town). Even if you dropped out of high school, you took English classes in elementary school. Even if you’ve never read a book in your life, you see and hear English all the time (unless perhaps you live in a community that isn’t primarily English speaking). It’s on cereal boxes, TV, the internet…come on now. It’s your native language. You should be able to use it.

      And I personally don’t care if sounds elitist, but the people who can speak and write in a way others can actually understand SHOULD be the ones in positions of power. I would be buying a one way ticket to Canada the moment an elected official released a statement saying something like, “Jus got my bil seant to congris lol cant wate til it passed.” Sorry, typing like that should make you ineligible for…really just about everything. There are 8 year olds who can do better (most of them, in fact). All adults should be able to write in a way that would at the very least allow them to pass elementary school.

    • katydid

      @31f8fd9acbe2a5f74d0ec4e653f73a51:disqus i understand what you’re saying, but I also wouldnt apply anyone judging them to your own poor grammar skills. I am also a horrible speller and my commas are atrocious, but everyone on mommyish.com can read what we just wrote and comprehend it, and there in lies the difference :) (or is it lays?)

    • STFUParents

      That’s exactly what I was going to say.

    • AllysonLT

      Precisely this.

    • STFUParents

      Everyone else who’s commented has already made the points I would make, but I would like to add that I don’t have any “standards of literary excellence.” I didn’t mention that my mom was an English teacher to sound “fancy,” lol. She taught public school (at an alternative school). I didn’t receive a “private school education in grammar” or something. I’m just nit-picky about certain things and it’s probably due to my mother’s influence. That said, the examples I post are not meant to call out a person’s parenting skills. I’m ONLY talking about the way the parent has used Facebook in each of my posts and columns. The language butchery posts are meant to be funny and not taken so seriously. I understand why you might not like them, though.

    • ihatepickinganame

      I’m the shitty human here…because I will TOTALLY judge a person’s parenting skills by how they present themselves on Facebook. I mean, I understand poor grammar-but if you curse it out on Facebook, whats the rest of your world like? Take a look at Preqomommie’s page to catch my drift.

    • Stacy G.

      Thank you for your response, B. And for everyone else who responded as well. I was harsher in my comment than I really meant to be. Sorry >< I was taking things a little too personally and I see what the difference is between updates that are extremely confusing and those with a few errors here or there Like I said, I am sensitive to this. It seems like an internet habit for people to use typing skills against someone. Still, it would help if you could figure out what else they were even saying. I'm still a total fan of the site.

      By the way, your fans are some of the nicest internet commenters I've ever seen. I mean, really? None of you called me a Nazi or anything for being negative? Where's your 4chan spirits? ;P

    • STFUParents

      Ha. :) Thanks, Stacy!

    • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

      correct usage of your native language is not a unreasonable expectation. certainly if you graduated school. there’s nothing “professional” about being able to speak your own language.

    • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

      i mean hell, your comment is just fine. i don’t see any issues, and even if there are any minor ones, I CAN UNDERSTAND IT. ya know?

    • RCIAG

      And yet you wrote this post pretty well & intelligently even though you could’ve gone with LOLspeak or abbreviated everything with letters, but you didn’t. You wantedto be understood. That’s all anyone can ask, just please be comprehensible. Some of those just make zero sense.

      People can forgive a misplaced or lacking comma or a “there” instead of “their” if the rest of the posting makes sense. Granted some won’t but I’d bet most would. I would.

    • AllysonLT

      Yes, but your post here is perfectly intelligible. I only pick on minor spelling/grammar errors in articles (which are, in theory, edited) and not in comments or Facebook posts. I think B. is approaching it the same way. The problem with the posts highlighted here isn’t that they contain spelling/grammar errors; it’s that they make no. damn. sense. You might make the occasional (or even frequent) error in your social media posts, but, based on the above, you clearly can make perfect sense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.renee.reuter Mary Renee Reuter

      I don’t hate language butcherers. I love them. I appreciate them. They make me laugh and that brings joy to my life. They also make me stalk their facebook to figure out what the hell they’re talking about and what the hell happened since high school. And some of them are family. Doesn’t make me love them less. I think this article is celebrating them.

  • Tonicakes

    “ditch-soaking arson fantasies” is my new favorite thing.

    Also, Preqo Mommiiiee is going to be my new WoW character name.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      hahahahahahahahah!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Codename_Loki AJ Crowley

    Next time, on Maury… er, Facebook. Maury could do a Very Special Episode all about Facebook Mombies.

  • metoo

    I totally just looked up Preqmommie or whatever on Facebook. Oh my. 5 stars.

    • Barfaroni

      I did, too. It just makes me really sad.

  • KS

    one thing, while i have NO CLUE what happened in number 2, your doctor’s job is indeed to listen to you. can’t help you much if they don’t know the issue. a doctor that’s not listening to you is a crap doctor.

    • http://avatarsankh.blogspot.com/ Xyzzy

      I agree, but from what I’ve heard, the kind of behavior she hinted at usually happens in reaction to something the patient/kids are doing — showing up really late, kids drowning out their conversation, interrupting him to tell the kids to behave, and so forth.

    • Justme

      But if she talks the way she types I could see how a doctor wouldn’t be able to help.

    • AP

      She said something about “having no labs” so my guess is that she needed to get medical tests done before the appointment and didn’t, then showed up to the appointment with out-of-control, unruly children.

    • ipsedixit010

      That’s what I was guessing too. She didn’t get her labs done, shows up, and her kids are talking so much that the doctor has to tell her to quiet them. There are crappy doctors, but there are also crappy patients. Sounds like she was the latter. Doctors shouldn’t have to put up with that.

  • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

    one thing, while i have NO CLUE what happened in number 2, your doctor’s job is indeed to listen to you. can’t help you much if they don’t know the issue. a doctor that’s not listening to you is a crap doctor.

  • Pamela

    I have a cousin who posts like this constantly. Even reading her updates makes me need to grab the Advil bottle. Her daughter followed in her footsteps with that too… So now I go through twice the Advil everytime I read facebook.

  • Persistent Cat

    I loved the response to #2, “that’s how you do it, been there, done that.” That’s how you do what? What did she do? Because I couldn’t understand a word.

    Also, “been there done that” is the epitome of hilarious. Up there with “we’re not worthy” and “are we having fun yet?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/Amanda.Routhier1 Amanda Gilbertie Routhier

    I do not and will not EVER understand the use of lower-case Qs in the place of lower-case Gs. It DRIVES ME CRAZY.

  • Nicole

    I understand this site targets parents, but the lack of using the English vernacular is nothing specific to being parents as there are plenty of people who don’t have kids who don’t know how to use proper grammar, tense, structure, et. al. Ie. “who done gone tak lik dis when u gon come to ma hood.” Oh my lawdy. It shouldn’t be specific to parents, but anyone in general who talks lik dis.

  • idbug

    Ok, IMHO doctors _should_ listen to their patients about whatever’s relevant to the appointment. However it does sound like M and all of these people need some speech therapy before anyone is going to be able to comprehend a word they say.

  • lucygoosey74

    Oh dear God. They are going to teach their children to speak just like them..when will the cycle end?! And what’s up with the person who thinks that anyone who dosen’t support the fact that she’s having another child should douse themselves in gasoline and die in a 6 foot ditch?!

  • BubbleyToes

    “going college”