Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Language in a texting world

"Texting is fingered speech.  Now we can write the way we talk" - John McWhorter

Texting often gets a bad rap when it comes to its effect on the English Language.  Many articles, books, and lectures have featured debates about the long-term effect that texting will have on the way we communicate.

However, studies are now showing that students are able to communicate just as well as before texting was popular.  If anything, texting is encouraging children to use written language more often in a more casual and less threatening environment.

With every generation come cries that teenagers are destroying the language with their slang. People are now complaining that casual language used in texts and instant messages keeps kids from understanding how to write and speak “properly.” In fact, experts say that texting is far from destroying English, but innovating and enriching the language.

We used to speak like we talked, however, now it’s the other way around. Now, we can write quickly enough to capture qualities of spoken language in our writing, and teens are doing just that. John McWhorter’s 2013 TED Talk “Txting is killing language. JK!!!” states that teenagers are innovating language. He believes their creative development of the English language should be not mocked, but studied, calling texting “an expansion of [young people’s] linguistic repertoire.” As an example, he focuses in on the term lol. It can now be used not only to talk about something truly funny, but instead sets a tone that the person writing the text is conveying a lighthearted tone.

So, while LOL and ROFL may not have been part of our language 15 years ago, now may be the perfect time to embrace and celebrate our ever-changing language.

1 comment:

  1. During the 40s and 50s, in Elementary and High School, the colloquial expressions were sanctioned. In college, four points were subtracted from the grades per every single Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary or speaking mistake... How did the education changed!