Linda Colling: Not rofl

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LOL. You may want to laugh out loud, but I don’t. What’s the world coming to? What a sad state of affairs that sum1 at Mattel, the makers of Scrabble, has decided to allow “text speak”.

Further corruption of our language changing the 60-year-old rules to allow text acronyms such as tbh – to be honest and rofl – rolling on the floor laughing. Pointless in more ways than one.

I despair at what is another nail in the coffin for English and those who want to speak it plainly. Pathetic SMS and gangsta rap speak are now playable words.

A spokesman for the company said: “We all have to change with the times. Every day, millions of text abbreviations are sent and these are creeping into the general parlance.

“Just because these phrases might not appear in a dictionary is no reason, in our view, for such ‘text speak’ to be excluded from the game.

“We hold a similar view of gangsta rapping,” he explained. “It is now accepted that some young people employ some fairly colourful terms to describe their impending acts of violence against each other.

“For that reason, we are happy to include such words and phrases in our sponsored competitions.

“Our hope is that we will rejuvenate an established brand.”

More like reducing it to the common denominator. I’m with the Campaign for Plain English who insist: “This is a step too far.”

And I can quite understand why lovers of our language are up in arms.

I loved this reaction from Frank Gregory, captain of the scrabble team at The Sunny Glades Retirement Home in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, as posted on Fernando’s Bassoon blog.

He had me nearly lol with his clever condemnation.

It’s no laughing matter what Mattel has done as Frank fearlessly explained some consequences of the changed rules with: “It has placed an unnecessary burden on those of us who, until now, have abided by the rules of Scrabble.

“Until today, a dictionary was all that was required to determine the acceptability of a word. We now have to listen to entire back catalogues of groups such as NWA and Blame Ya Dead Homie.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are some songs that mirror our lives – these young American rappers clearly take almost as much medication as we do, and we also have our own drive-by services bringing us hot food. However, the way that they treat their pet dogs, especially the female ones, is not something we approve of.

“Also, now that text speak is permitted, it is difficult for there to be a distinction between a genuine attempt at the game and a cry for assistance from the nursing staff, especially with words such as ‘PMSL’.”

I had to look that one up – pi****g myself laughing. I’m not. Scrabble is a serious game, set on the bedrock of pitting your wits and way with words to win.

There was a certain cachet about being a champ at Scrabble for those with the brains to seize their chance to use their letter x, as in quixotic. Now it’s all going to the dogs.

High time true lovers of our language stood up and took their protest to the very house of Mattel, demanding they lose this lazy lingo from the Scrabble Board, stop the rot b4 it’s 2 l8 and more to the point, play the game.