Jus bc s'ok to tlk in txt, It Doesn't Mean You Should

from the choices dept

For some time now, people have been worried about the influence that text-messaging is having on children — in particular, their adoption of certain sayings and abbreviations (sometimes known as “txt spk”) and how that influences their written academic work. Most of these concerns appear to be overblown, but the debate’s getting kicked up a notch in New Zealand, where officials have approved the use of txt spk on exams (via Textually). A representative of the national school qualifications agency says that students will get credit on their exams for answers written that “clearly shows the required understanding” — but that in subjects such as English, where proper use of language is one of the grading criteria, use of abbreviations and slang would be penalized. The crux of the whole argument surrounding txt spk in schools has been that students need to know when it’s acceptable to use, and when they need to communicate more formally. Obviously when writing an English essay, texting shorthand probably isn’t a great idea; for many people, any sort of exam or academic work isn’t the proper place to use this sort of language, if for no other reason than because answers written in it may not be clear to the person grading them. Students should understand this, just like they should understand they probably shouldn’t write a resume or university application in txt spk. So in that regard, perhaps saying that using the abbreviations is acceptable is a decent idea, because it then puts the onus on students to exercise good judgment (like they’d have to do outside the classroom), and becomes a test of more than just their academic knowledge.

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Comments on “Jus bc s'ok to tlk in txt, It Doesn't Mean You Should”

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Ryan (profile) says:

not good

The problem with text speek is that it varies greatly from one group of friends to another. It’s not like English where there’s a universal standard. Each word only has one meaning.

That’s not true in text speak. Example: POS can mean “piece of shiat” or “parent over shoulder” depending upon who’s using it. That’s why it shouldn’t be ok to use.

As somebody who runs an internet slang translator(noslang.com) I am still against this..

There’s a time and a place for slang and text speak, and school isn’t the place.

Craig says:

Re: not good

It’s not like English where there’s a universal standard. Each word only has one meaning.

That’s not true in text speak. Example: POS can mean “piece of shiat” or “parent over shoulder” depending upon who’s using it. That’s why it shouldn’t be ok to use.

English has almost no universal standards and context is valuable in any language. I consider your comment mentally retarded via the DSM-IV.

Magnanimous Coward says:

Re: just jargon

try wrtng ur resume n txt tlk n c if u get a cll bck. i bet u dnt.

The point of the article is that there is a time and place for txttlk (slang, jargon, etc…). School papers and such is not one of those times or places, and telling students it’s ok to will send them the wrong message.

I think anyone who is against this should write a letter/email, written entirely in text-talk, to the board of education (or whoever is concidering this) praising the idea and talking about how wonderful of an idea it is. Once they try to read it, and can’t, the motion will probably be thrown out.

Anonymous Coward says:

“It’s not like English where there’s a universal standard. Each word only has one meaning.”

uh, no. English is chock full of words called homographs. when i say “dough” do you think baking or money? when i say bow do i mean on top of a gift, on a ship, or bending at the waist?

slang has always been around, and always will be. it will go the way of other slang terms (i don’t think anyone still says “no problemo” or “hasta la vista” or “oh snap” seriously anymore), or it will be incorporated into the language.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, there are two things. One is the Spanish phrase “hasta la vista.” The other is the English phrase “hasta la vista.” The English phrase is a slang term. Yes, the English phrase is derived from the Spanish phrase and has the same lexical structure, but it is not merely the Spanish phrase. I know you’ll be tempted to argue otherwise, but don’t. It’s far more likely that you’ll miss the je ne sais quoi the English phrase has, and merely demonstrate a lack of savoir faire.

silent bob, non-silent bob says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

ok. spelled the same, perhaps. pronounced the same, no.

because it’s acceptable for people in English slang to pronounce the H whereas a Spanish-speaking person never would. so even if you can argue that the English “slang” isn’t slang because it’s used in the exact same context, albeit perhaps often more flippantly, it’s STILL slang simply because the spoken H is acceptable… BECAUSE IT’S SLANG. Same thing with Cockney dialect in England. And yeah Cockney is SLANG.

qyiet says:

I live in NZ

and heard the NZQA rep talking about that this morning. They are not so much approving “text speak” as much as saying you won’t be marked down for it unless grammer and spelling are part of the marking schedule.

He was also quick to point out that any student using text speak is running a big risk, because as ryan pointed out definitions are not clear.

His summary was:
If the examiner can read it, they’ll mark it.

But his advice was:
Make it easy for the examiner to read

My feeling is that this is much like the real world, if you know something, and manage to communicate the idea it dosn’t matter much how, but if you can’t communicate it, you may as well no know it.

anonamous says:


Here’s an idea: Ban texting. It is stupid. It is a cell PHONE. That means you TALK on it. My buddy infuriates me all the time when I’m riding in the car with him, because he is constantly swerving around while trying to “txt” someone. On the computer with instant messaging applications, it is another matter. You are not endangering anyone’s life. I think New Zealand is making a mistake, allowing uncivilized forms of writing to receive credit. It will instill laziness in the students, cause them to forget how to spell words correctly, and develop poor grammar skills. (Kind of like those forum dolts who say “for sell” instead of “for sale”.) People who use “txt spk” in a setting other than an instant messaging program with their friends should be shot. If they are too stupid to know when it is inappropriate to use it, they are obviously not fit to function in society.

Ryan (profile) says:

not true

homographs are a lot harder with text talk, especially since messages are small and there’s no standard way to abbreviate a word.

I’m talking about thinks like “cll” does that mean call or cell?

what about bck? is that buck? or back? The problem with text talk is that I can abbreviate the same words the same way, and in many contexts it’s hard to tell.

Homonyms are at least spelled differently.

Celes says:

Re: 'Old-school' shorthand...

I may be too young to remember, but if I’m correct, those who took notes in shorthand still translated them into proper English before handing a professional document to their bosses. If students want to draft a response in slang, great, but the teacher has to be able to understand what the student wrote.

Come on, secretaries and assistants. How many of you have had to type up your boss’s notes, only to have to call/visit them numerous times during the process because you just can’t understand what they meant by those initials and that arrow pointing to a little box thing?

The point is that txt tlk isn’t easy for the average grader of assignments to understand, and no matter what subject you’re in, an incomprehensible or undecipherable answer won’t get you very far. I can imagine fighting a test grade with a math teacher saying, “Oh yeah, the little squiggly over there, that was supposed to be a 3. So I get the points, right?”

ihatelazypeoplewhocan'ttypefullwords says:

Re: Re:

YES! I LOVE these kind of people. “OMGZ YES A TYPO! NOW I CAN SHOW EVERYONE I’M SMART!” /endsarcasm


Anyways, it’s totally ridiuclous that they’d consider allowing this in schools. While it’s true homographs exist with english words, they’re commonly used in a context where you can understand. If you say “Bow down to me,” only the insanely stupid will think you’re referring to a bow and arrow. Whereas GG for example, isn’t used in context. It’s usualy on it’s own like many other txtspk homographs. GG could mean “Good Game” or “Gotta Go” but will almost always just be “gg” in its own message. I’ve used computers for years now, always online, and to this very day i read little txtspk bits that leave me dumbfounded. And whoever mentioned it above has a valid point too. While txtspk does convey the proper meaning (if used in good enough context) the answer to an exam question could be right, but now all we’re doing is teaching kids they can be lazy as hell and leave out letters. It’s suppose to be like that on a phone because of limited message space, my phone only allows 144 characters. On an exam you dont have a character limit so I dont see why people have to be so damn lazy. Personally, when i read a txtspk-ridden post, article, or comment, i wonder if the author had been sniffing paint or something. It makes people seem SO STUPID. I can read something like that and imagine the author wearing a football helmer with his name scribbled on many times with a crayon, while wearing a white shirt that has a three-year-old-style pigeon drawn on it, while also wearing a beach towel for a superhero cape. Use all the letters and spell something right for a damn change (and no, i dont mean typos, i mean spelling the word..the WHOLE word). Makes me sick. lazy idiots.

qyiet says:

Re: Re: Re:ihatelazypeoplewhocan'ttypefullwords

Personally, when i read a txtspk-ridden post, article, or comment, i wonder if the author had been sniffing paint or something. It makes people seem SO STUPID.

Kinda like when someone who obviously knows enough html to put in break tags is too lazy to divide their post into paragraphs. It makes the whole thing lack readability.

but now all we’re doing is teaching kids they can be lazy as hell and leave out letters.

It’s not teaching kids anything.. it’s just not punishing them during exam conditions. It’s not allowing text speak in assignments, or regular work. Only in exams.

qyiet says:

Missing the point

I’m feeling a sort of obligation to defend my county’s Qualification Authority’s decision here as soo many miss the point.

They are saying they will not mark you down, for bad grammar or spelling. and that abbreviations are allowable. (unless spelling/grammar are part of the marking schedule)

If you use an abbreviation you are hoping the examiner knows what you mean, and if he/she does they will accept it. It’s the student’s risk to use an abbreviation.

Those arguing for “standard English” only should take a quick look in the mirror here. I ran the comments 1-16 through word’s spelling and grammar checker, the only one that came up clean (excluding deliberate txt examples and so forth) was comment 8. Would you feel hard done by if you had been marked down for the responses you’ve given for grammatical errors?

I don’t know about you, but if I’m doing an exam that is not centered around English I don’t want to spend the 50 percent of the time proofreading. Nor would I want to be hiring someone on exam results that held the English language higher than the knowledge tested

Rick says:

Get Over It

Some people use txt spk, some don’t. Big Deal.

I remember in 6th grade arguing with my teacher over the 3 hours a week we had to spend on ‘penmanship’ and how awful my cursive writing was, even though my grammar and spelling were very good. I preferred to use block type and I still do to this day. That wasted time learning how to write in pretty little squiggles that were all connected together did nothing for me. I have yet to use it since 6th grade other than to sign my name. Txt spk is no different and it looks like New Zealand has figured that out. As long as a student can communicate and understand the subject, it should not matter how they do it.

I wonder how much more I could have learned in 6th grade with those 540 wasted hours of penmanship…

Derek Kerton (profile) says:


If true, that’s the wrong call. The learning of proper language should take place in every subject and class, not just English. Many nebulous brain skills, such as critical thinking, don’t take place in any designated subject matter at all – yet we hope that our kids will learn some of this in school.

Similarly, maternal language (which does have a dedicated class) is also learned in math, science, art class, etc. Writing a history essay is as much a process of learning to communicate with words as it is a useless rote recitation of obscure dates!

Also, despite teaching the use of language in many different classes, we still graduate a ridiculous number of functional illiterates. (Your god here) forbid we should get any worse.

Mordaxus says:

This is boon for those who sneer.

I’m someone who has been typing so long that it is easier for me to type full English that text speak. Even on my T9 mobile, it’s faster for me to type the whole thing out than translate the English into text speak.

However, this rule actually makes it easier for someone to make it harder on the text-speaker. If someone writes (for example) “bcnu” when they really mean “Will call tomorrow” (and note that I am not opposed to elision), as a grader of work, I can show that “bcnu” is inadequate and gleefully use its terseness against it. It is also very hard to defend against such an attack.

The irony is that by accepting text-speak, a hard-ass teacher has far more ammunition to grade a paper sternly. Far from being a boon to the student, it is a license for the teachers to use judo.

Mordaxus says:

While we're on the subject of pedantry

After submitting a comment, a page comes up that says, “Thanks for your comment. It will appear momentarily.”

It should say, “… It will appear presently.” Presently means “real soon now.” Momentarily means “for a moment.” If your submission appears and then a moment later disappears, it has appeared momentarily.

Yes, yes, I know that airlines say all the time, “we will be taking off momentarily.” This is because the most dangerous moment in air travel is the take-off. If they say, “we will be taking off momentarily” and you actually safely fly to your destination, then while they are wrong, no one’s going to sue them. On the other hand, if they crash during take-off, you can’t say they didn’t warn you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Are we not all missing the point here ? Surely the point is that the exams are now going to be marked on the students knowledge and their ability to convey that knowledge rather then “proper” use of the English language ?

All the report seems to be saying to me is that if a student can make their point, whether it be in full and correct English or by using “text speak”, diagrams or any other form of written communication they will still receive marks as long as the marker can understand what the student is trying to communicate and believes it to be correct.

Sounds like a great idea to me. Yes, of course we shouldn’t be encouraging the use of “text speak” in inappropriate situations but should the students grammar and punctuation be a little ropey it means they wont be punished for it – unless of course the exam is on written English !!!

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