The Issue of Text Speak

When I taught high school, I heard quite a few teachers say that texting is killing the English language.  They blame texting and emailing for the slow decline of proper writing and speaking skills.  “The kids write like they talk, and they write incorrectly.”  Funny thing is, the kids know what they’re saying to each other.  And this text speak shows no signs of slowing.

Everywhere I go, people are walking around texting. They text in line, they text while shopping, driving, dining out, and they even text while attending classes and meeting.  People are absolutely glued to their phones, and they are in a constant state of texting.  What’s interesting, though, is that the hurried nature of texting makes it difficult to pay attention to grammar, so what we get is a new sort of shorthand that makes texting more efficient.

Whenever I receive a text, an email, or a Facebook message, many of the messages are riddled with “LOLs” and “jks” and “how r us”.  It used to bother me, but now I find myself relenting and participating.  But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of switching on the “proper” writing rules.

I’m not as much of a stickler as some of my colleagues.  I’ve been known to use a “2″ instead of a “to” or “two” on Twitter to make a sentence work, but that’s very rare. I feel the constant use of text speak is a sign of laziness, but also a sign of hurriedness.  We’re giving up accuracy for efficiency, which has ups and downs.

 

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Posted on June 1, 2011, in Ethics, Writing Styles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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