Does text messaging make us illiterate?…and wrecking language as we know it…..
Text messaging has become a convenient and easy medium that has transformed the way people interact and get in contact with each other (excluding the ever-popular social networking sites such as Facebook…. -_- ). Text talk ‘textisms’ has even developed using abbreviations such as- omg, lol, idk, ftw, wtf, fml; short-handing pre-existing words such as- wz, wat, plz and even creating whole new words to help express ourselves though text form such as- meh. According to the Mobile Life Report which conducted an investigation in 2006, found that 92% of UK mobile phone users feel that their mobiles are an essential part of their daily life.
The debatable question is, does texting make us more illiterate?
Evidence to support the notion that the action of text messaging has a negative effect on grammar and literacy comes from Plester, Wood and Bell (2008), who conducted correlational research through meta-analysis. Their paper reviewed studies which investigated the relationship between children’s texting behaviour, their knowledge of text abbreviations and their school attainment in written language skills. One piece of research used 11–12-year-old children who provided information on their texting behaviour, the children were also asked to translate a standard English sentence into a text message and vice versa. The children’s standardised verbal and non-verbal reasoning scores were also obtained. Children who used their mobiles to send three or more text messages a day had significantly lower scores than children who sent none. They concluded that the result showed that the greater the habit of text messaging has a negative effect on written language skills.
In response to this new generation of language, the latest update of the Oxford Dictionaries Online had published new additions of words, definitions and abbreviations consisting of the initial letters of expressions (made popular through their frequent use in text messages, and other forms of technological communications such as in social-networking sites and emails) such as omg and lol. These new internet and text inspired expressions are now legitimately merging into our English language, which demonstrates how much of an impact technology is changing the future of communication. But for better or worse???
Plester, B. Wood, C. Bell, V. (2008). Txt msg n school literacy: does texting and knowledge of text abbreviations adversely affect children’s literacy attainment?Literacy,42 (3), 137-144. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4369.2008.00489.x