Linguist Explains That Txting Isn't Ruining Spelling Or The English Language
from the try-again dept
For years, we’ve been responding to highly questionable reports or unsubstantiated claims that “txt spk” was somehow destroying the English language and seeping into all sorts of written communications from students who just didn’t know any better. Much of that myth was apparently built off of a paper that was posted to the internet, that many people then insisted must have been true — but which later turned out to be a hoax. Yet, the myth prevailed despite plenty of studies that showed children of this generation are better writers because they spend much more time with the English language than earlier generations. And, despite widespread opinion, they usually know which type of writing is proper for which context. In fact, studies showed that there were no ill effects of students learning “txt spk.” Yet, because the myth is so strong, even when studies come out disproving the myth, the press often misrepresent the results.
One of England’s top linguists has seen enough, however, and has gone through all the research, along with some of his own to come out with a book dispelling the myth that texting hurts a child’s language skills. As he notes in a recent interview:
“Almost every basic principle that people hold about texting turns out to be misconceived. Misspelling isn’t universal: analysis shows that only 10% of words used in texts are misspelt. Nor are most texts sent by kids: 80% are sent by businesses and adults. Likewise, there is no evidence that texting teaches people to spell badly: rather, research shows that those kids who text frequently are more likely to be the most literate and the best spellers, because you have to know how to manipulate language.”
“If you can’t spell a word, then you don’t really know whether it’s cool to misspell it. Kids have a very precise idea of context – none of those I have spoken to would dream of using text abbreviations in their exams – they know they would be marked down for it.”
Hopefully, with more studies and academics pointing this out, we can start to put this myth to bed.