Sunday, January 6, 2013

Txting: Good, Bad or Who Cares....and a Contest

Do you text?  I don't. 

My granddaughter does.  In fact, she can text a gazillion words a minute while staring off into the distance.  Like most teenagers, her hand seems glued to her cell phone.  Here's a quote from an article I read:  "Mobile phone ownership is universal and people use them constantly.  If you don't have a mobile, you're effectively a non-person."  (Whew, glad to know I'm a person.)

What's a mobile phone for, if not to text?

So...IYO TXTing = Gd 4 or NME of GMR?  Cute, huh?  I didn't make it up; I found it in an article on texting and its effect on grammar. 

On the one hand...

Here are some anti-texting quotes (Sorry, I mean anti-txting):

"Linguistically, it's all pig's ear.   Texting is penmanship for illiterates."  Sutherland, 2002.

"...vandals who are doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours eight hundred years ago...pillaging our punctuation, savaging our sentences, raping our vocabulary."  Humphreys, 2007.

OMG, i bet u didn't no tXting ws that powrfl did u?

Many teachers worry that texting will ruin students' language skills but this has not been clearly proven.  One conclusion some teachers have come to is that students who text the most are used to short messages and their essays lack depth and supporting arguments.

On the other hand...

"Netspeak is a development of millennial significance.  A new medium of linguistic communication does not arrive very often in the history of the race."  Crystal, 2001

ok, that 1's ovr th top.

Here's what Columbia University linguist John McWhorter, my favorite Teaching Company lecturer, thinks.  He likens texting to ancient Mayan writing; for us, it's an informal use of written language.  He says calling texting bad writing is like calling music by the Rolling Stones bad classical music.  Texting isn't formal writing nor is it meant to be.  He adds, "This speech on paper is vibrant, creative and "real" in exactly the way that we celebrate in popular forms of music, art, dance and dress style.  Few among us yearn for a world in which the only music is classical, the only dance is ballet and daily clothing requires corsets and waistcoats.  As such, we might all embrace a brave new world where we can both write and talk with our fingers."

Here are some clever ways teachers have incorporated texting into the curriculum:
1. Having students translate text-drenched pieces into standard English;
2. Having them translate passages from classic literature into textspeak;
3. Having them summarize passages from Shakespeare into text to check their comprehension.

Did you know there are actual text poetry contests?  The Guardian has one, and here's my favorite poem, by Lucy Sweetman, one of the runners up:

w8 fr yr mesg the beep yr wrds of rude luv.
U mke me blush w

The curve of yr letters u tch me thru my palms, my eyes.
Isn't that sweet?
Now for the contest.  You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you?
Post a short poem in text language in the Comments section by Monday, January 14.  Winner will get a copy of a romance by Lorna Michaels (aka me). 
Lking 4wd 2 cing yr NtrEs.





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