Friday, September 19, 2008

Textual healing

Texting is destroying our language. Young people are using text language in their exam papers. English is being dumbed down thanks to Satan's little helper, SMS. These are all regular complaints about the vile disease that is texting (apart from the last one which I made up).

But it's all a load of cobblers, according to one of the world's top linguists, David Crystal. In an interview on the Visual Thesaurus website linked from an article on the excellent Language Log blog, he puts these "myths" to the sword:

Now, in the case of the text messaging scenario, none of that has happened. It's people imagining the situation. They say, "Text messages are full of abbreviations." These are people who may never have texted in their lives, and who have certainly never done any research to find out. They believe that this is the case. And of course one of the first planks of research that I did was to look at large quantities of text messages, as well as the research that other people have done, to find that typically less than 10 percent of the words in text messages are actually abbreviated in any way.

We've looked at texting before on this blog - use the search toolbar to find out where - and some of our students (hello A2 classes!) have been involved in Tim Shortis's latest research into text usage, which we hope to be able to bring you news of in the next few months . (His earlier observations on texting and the various assumptions about them can be found summarised here.) Crispin Thurlow's paper on the sociolinguistics of text messaging can also be found here.

NEway (Ha ha, do you see what I did there?), what are your views on texting? Does it influence your written language? Does it make you spell badly? Can you no longer write you and have to write u? Text your responses to 22554 (texts will cost no less than £75).

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Change

1 comment:

suze said...

My txting rarely has any abbreviations -- I use the auto-txt thing and it even pulls me up on typos, so it encourages accurate spelling for me! I have programmed the dictionary to do a few non-standard things, e.g. ppl, but not any of those alphanumeric thingies ( c u l8r)