Changing communication, affecting English
January 20, 2012
Texting has brought conveniences to society, but it has also created problems and conflicts. Texting makes communicating with friends, family and co-workers easier, but some people choose to do so at the wrong time, like while driving. The way people, especially teenagers, talk and write has changed into what seems like a whole new language over last five years.
G2g, ttyl. Teenagers are the creators of the texting language and they have made texting quick and easy. Since most people don’t take the time to put in punctuation or capitalization when texting, and they use poor sentence structure, sentences have become much shorter and simpler.
Teachers nationwide participated in a poll in 2009 about texting, its effect on grammar and the ways it affects students during school. About 45% of the teachers polled responded, “Yes, I believe students are carrying over the writing habits they pick up through text messages into school assignments.” Over 30% of them said, “No, I believe students can write one way to their friends and another way in class. They keep the two methods separate.” The other 19% of the voters chose, “Maybe, although text messaging may have some impact on how students write. I don’t think it is a significant problem.”
“As [students] are building their foundational writing skills in high school, I do believe [texting] affects their writing. As they progress, they learn more about audience and when it is appropriate to use text-speak and when it is not,” said English teacher Ms. Carrie Honaker.
“Texting bypasses basic rules of punctuation, capitalization and spelling and once ingrained it is difficult to retrain students in correct mechanics,” said Ms. Honaker. Once texting lingo is used, it is sometimes hard for people to remember where to use commas and colons and how to spell certain words. A national telephone poll said that 64% people between the ages of 12 to 17 admitted to using “breezy shortcuts and symbols commonly in their school assignments.”
Texting is a huge part of teenagers’ lives; the average teenager sends about 1,742 text messages a month. A poll taken in 2009 stated that about 75% of teenagers between the ages of 12-17 own cell phones, but in 2004 only 45% of teenagers had cell phones.
When most teenager text, they use abbreviations like “lol”,” ttyl”, and the letter u instead of you, but because of this new lingo, people may forget grammar rules. Michael Schmitt (12) said, “It doesn’t really [make me make more mistakes in writing] but for some people it is just natural to them and they have to pay attention and fix it.”
Things such as apostrophes, colons and semi-colons are often forgotten or skipped with texting. Since teenagers exclude these marks, it may be harder for them to remember all the rules and places for when they need to use these symbols in writing.
“[Texting] could make me make more mistakes in writing, but I don’t really think about it,” said Kaytii Ganley (11).
Using texting lingo when speaking can also be interpreted by some as lazy, or even uneducated. “I hear some people say ‘lol’ and other abbreviations when they talk, which makes some people seem ignorant,” said Kaytii.
“I hear “j.k.” or “i.d.k.” fairly often in my classes,” added Mrs. Honaker.