Modern society is obsessed with computer technologies. Adults and teenagers, especially youngsters, seldom write even a few notes in their notebooks. Instead, we send emails and texts. In a word, we’re texting on any possible occasion, considering it to be quicker, more convenient and most of all, more modern than old fashioned hand writing.
Communicating via sending short messages has already transformed into a separate communication style.
Terms such as ‘textese,’ meaning sms language, and ‘textisms,’ which refers to mnemonic devices or word-shortening are widely used via cell phones and on Internet social networks.
Obviously, one should make use of all modern communication trends and devices, but one question arises: whether such an influence of technology is positive or negative? So, is texting harmful or beneficial?
It turns out that there’s no correct answer to this question. Surprisingly, expert opinions on this topic differ greatly. So, according to Dr. Crispin Thurlow, a language and communication expert, the language used in texts can be classified as ‘adaptive and additive rather than necessarily subtractive’ (Lanir, 2011). Surely such a high evaluation can be viewed as positive. Even so, the fact, that such an opinion was expressed almost 10 years ago should be taken into account, as compared to 2003, the number of children and teenagers communicating via text messages has increased significantly.
In 2009, Clare Wood and Beverly Plester became interested in the way texting might influence the level of general literacy and academic achievement. Within this research, abbreviations used in texting were studied. As Dr. Thurlow didn’t state any negative ways that ‘textese’ and ‘textisms’ could affect the studying capabilities of schoolchildren and students, these two experts began with the assumption that texting language was likely to contribute to the literary skills development of those who used it. (Lanir, 2011).
However, the findings of the newer research showed that newly-coined shortcuts, called homophones, non-essential and initial letter omission, which initially aims to write the text message quickly and simplify it as much as possible, generally tended to devastate language skills in general, and spelling skills in particular for those who commonly engaged in texting. This resulted in poor academic achievements for students in regard to writing tests and grammar. This drop in language skill is connected to the fact that each written word corresponds to some definite mental template, which in its turn is connected with a phonological sounding system of the language (Nauert, 2011).
It goes without saying, that there’s no use in lagging behind, and it’s important to keep up with the times and with modern communication tendencies. On the other hand, it may turn out to be a good idea to draw a distinct line between formal, standardized language and Internet clichés, as well as patterns that are used only for online chatting or on social networks, particularly when texting, and most especially when texting friends and family members via mobile phones. It has to be kept in mind that a well-rounded education demands certain standards, including excellent writing skills. These skills are important for composing resumes or application letters, or any other kind of official writing that has nothing to do with modern slang and texting.
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