“La langue de l’Europe c’est la traduction.”
— Umberto Eco
Roland Barthes would have loved this. A Euro-MP named William Abitbol has gone and had the draft European Constitution translated into Texto SMS 'for the benefit of the younger generation'.
So here's a hipness test, dear reader. Can you read this:
Kon6an ke l'p ét 1 continan porteur 2 6viliza6on ; ke C zabitan, venu /vag suxSiv 2 p8 lé ler zaj 2 lumaniT, i on DvloP progrSivman lé valeur ki fond lumanism : légaliTD zètr, la libRT, le rSP 2 la rézon,
If you looked at that and saw the first paragraph of the Preamble,
Conscients que l'Europe est un continent porteur de civilisation; que ses habitants, venus par vagues successives depuis les premiers âges de l'humanité, y ont développé progressivement les valeurs qui fondent l'humanisme: l'égalité des êtres, la liberté, le respect de la raison,
Then you are hip indeed. And your French is good too.
(Credit: My wife, who teaches EU law, tipped me off to this one.)
That looks so much like Haitian Kreyol that I wouldn’t be surprised if a Haitian could read it pretty easily. Maybe text-chat orthographies should be thought of as written-language parallels to spoken creoles.
Actually, a creole (like, well, Haitian kreyol) has a grammar very different from the language it’s based on. On the other hand, this version of the European constitution, though it has an amusingly different orthography from modern French, is grammatically identical to the original.
Pidgins and creoloes are an active area of research in linguistics — if you’re interested, you can probably find interesing leads if you look for references to Derek Bickerton’s work.
In any case, most Haitians who are educated (and thus literate) are obliged to learn French, so they probably could read it.