This article discusses many of topics related to the functionality, literacy, and nonverbal suggestions provided through the digitally written rhetoric found in the text messages we send every single day from our phones to our best friends, family, and coworkers.
David Crystal is a British linguist who is internationally known as a leading authority on languages, mainly English. He describes texting as “another variety of language” which is constantly evolving in the digital society that we live in. Prophecies about the linguistic evils of texting were listed in the article as such: texting uses new and nonstandard spelling which will ultimately destroy children’s ability to spell, punctuate, and capitalize correctly and it is implied that they will somehow manage to transfer these new habits into the rest of their school assignments. This will end in the rise of a generation who grows up unable to write proper English.
If this sort of a generation existed I imagine that because they are incapable of writing proper English then they probably wouldn’t be able to read it correctly either. It might looked something like the video below taken from a Key & Peele skit on Comedy Central.
Key & Peele, Substitute Teacher, 2012
That illustration might be a little dramatic but according to these so called “prophecies” I have a strong opinion to both agree and disagree. I agree because it is a valid point that makes logical sense. The more students text in abbreviations and code the less they are able to speak or write well. However, on the other hand, I text every single day and even with the struggle of not knowing how to spell something or even forgetting there is an auto correct feature. The same feature which is programmed in to Microsoft Office Word that pretty much students of all ages use now a days to type up their assignments.
After reading this article in its’ entirety I realized that this kind of argument is obsolete. Texting has become more beneficial to language than sending emails because it creates and changes and evolves the language we use every day. Just think about it… If we were always staying stagnant and not learning or growing then would we ever really go anywhere? How would we evolve?
Language is not something objective. It is subjective and can be changed very easily today due to digital writing like texting and tweeting.
Please note: Twitter has 140 character limits in order for users to post a tweet. This includes hashtags and tagging people in your post. This creates the need to abbreviate and shorten language that can still be understood. It also leads to trending new terms used in slang and the social media communities.
Anyway, I’d like to make the point that when text messaging first started there weren’t unlimited plans and the few cell phone providers that had them were asking for an arm and a leg in payments every month. That led to people shortening their messages in to 160 character messages while trying to say as much as possible in one text message as so not to just waste them.
Now a majority of people have unlimited everything plans and family plans that are much cheaper. We are actually reverting back to typing out full words and sending more than one message at a time because of it. We don’t think about it and we don’t really care half of the time.
The last point that I would like to make is that we don’t have to worry about how people punctuate or spell but we need to pay attention to the rhetorical thought behind a message. Not everyone interprets everything the same way based on their mood or experience one person may see something to the left and another person may see something to the right. Please watch the video to see an example of what I’m trying to communicate.
Key & Peele, Text Message Confusion, 2014
So basically, my essential point that I would like you all to take away from this article review is that there is no fuss. People accept text message language for what it is and just like any other form of writing everyone has their own style, diction, and voice. You have to learn a person’s voice and style in text messaging to understand their language usage.
Clark, Virginia, and Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa. Language Awareness. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. Print.
Comedy Central. “Key & Peele – Substitute Teacher” Online video clip. YouTube, 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.
Comedy Central. “Key & Peele –Text Message Confusion – Uncensored” Online video clip. YouTube, 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.