Friday, April 19, 2013

Texting and language discourses

Susan Boyle wants you to come to a party. But what kind of party?
In recent lessons for AS English Language we've been looking at the affordances and limitations of new communication technologies like texts, tweets and message boards as part of work on ENGA1. So, we've seen how technologies allow near-synchronous communication across huge distances, give us the chance to interact with journalists and readers in collaborative acts of communication, rant uncontrollably on the Daily Mail message board, and more worryingly we've stumbled across internet trolls, misunderstood text messages and emails and Susan Boyle's unfortunately ambiguous hashtag (#susanalbumparty).

But as well as being a topic for AS, these new technologies (Can we really call texting new, any more, by the way?) are fair game for work on ENGA3 as well, both in Section A, where we look at change, but also in Section B, where it's more to do with attitudes people have towards changes in language.

This article from the Daily Telegraph is a good example of a prescriptive language discourse around technology and change. Anne Merritt, an ESL lecturer, argues that - despite evidence to contrary from people who have studied texting and literacy - texting is bad for young people:

Call me a traditionalist, but it doesn’t look like a revolution to me. Instead, it looks like a simple decline in proper language skills, born out of a digitally literate culture that has grown too comfortable in an age of abbreviations and spellchecks.

It's worth a read, as it's exactly the kind of article that holds a language topic up for discussion and takes a side: in this case, a side you'd be perfectl;y entitled to agree or disagree with if you were putting an answer together on ENGA3.

For those of you doing ENGA1 Language and Mode (or maybe the AQA B spec's ENGB1 Language and Technology topic), it's interesting to have a look at the abbreviations mentioned at the end. Are these still widely used, or falling by the wayside as technology develops further?

Black British English vs MLE

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