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Is the decline of the vowel a sign that language is evolving? | The Independent

T he first step in the next stage of language ’s inevitable evolution – or devolution – may have already hppnd. It’s true that A, E, I, O and U have never been given much respect. In Scrabble, they’re each worth a measly point. But vowels , up until now, have not been actually without value. Their purpose has been clearly defined and accepted. When we announce we’re going to suss something out, for instance, they keep us from just hissing like a snake.What we might call the Modern Vowel Massacre seems to have begun sometime in the early Noughties, when the band MGMT found some indie-rock fame. In 2009, in People magazine, the band informed us that the proper way to pronounce its name was to simply say the individual letters: M-G-M-T.“The confusion may lie,” the magazine said, “in the fact that the band’s original name was The Management, which they shortened to MGMT after discovering that another artist had the rights to it.”For exclusive articles, events and an advertising-free read for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a monthWith an Independent Minds subscription for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a monthWithout the ads – for just £5.99 €6.99 $9.99 a monthAround the same time, tech companies such as Tumblr and Flickr arrived on the scene, dropping the “e” both for distinctiveness and because the altered names made them easier to trademark, claim domain names on the internet and conduct other practical business.Now it seems I can’t go a week without seeing a handful of consonant-mad brands , like MNDFL, a meditation studio with a branch in my Brooklyn neighbourhood; or WTHN, which offers “a brand-new acupuncture experience”; or Mdrn, a “vertically integrated real estate and lifestyle brand” whose very modernness, it seems, is suggested by its abbreviated logo.Then there are the friends who sign their (ever-briefer) correspondence “Yrs” and the rampant contractions on Twitter, with its 280-character limit.