Sunday, November 05, 2006

Texting and spelling

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian has sparked heated debate on the subject of text message language and its impact on spelling. In his piece here, he argues that texting is driving us into a more logical and phonetically realistic system. He says:

Can texting finally spur revolution? Young people have evolved both a new script and a cost-effective reason for using it. They are breaking free of spelling dogma and expanding the alphabet with emoticons. Texting is the shorthand of the computer age. It is concise, cutting through the verbal jargon by which the professional classes seek to exclude the less educated.
I fully support his argument and have long felt that English spelling is bizarre and ludicrous. In his excellent book on arguments about the English language and the way it changes, The Fight for English, David Crystal points out that many English spellings were deliberately changed to remind us that they came from French, so it's no wonder that so many words have silent "k", "gh" and "h" sounds. No surprise then that so many English speakers struggle to spell. Have a look not just at the article but the hundreds of responses to it on the Guardian site.

Simon Lavery, who has posted the last couple of articles on the blog (cheers Simon!), has put together a set of links to this and related stories about texting, and I've included some of them below:

The Times on the Scottish exam board, SQA, allowing students taking the equivalent of GCSE Eng. Lit. to be rewarded for writing answers using text message language.

Next is a link to BBC Wales' message board discussion on texting.

This next BBC story from 2003 discusses the effect text talk might be having on people's ability to use Standard English in writing.

This story from BBC Scotland is from a woman complaining about the impact on children's literacy of text messaging.

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Change

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