Saturday, November 7, 2009

2 b, or nt 2 b?

Txt spk is a fairly new "language", if it can be called that. Since the invention of the text message in the early 90’s, texting has slowly gained popularity and txt spk has developed with it. Instant Messaging using the internet has also helped txt spk become more and more common. The common teenager has used it at least once, whether online or using a mobile phone. Every generation has had its slang, but so far Txt Spk is highly unique because it is primarily written, or typed as it were. Because it’s such a unique form of slang or generational language there has been a large amount of controversy connected to txt spk. One of the major questions is whether or not it’s harming youth’s ability to use Standard English.

As a teenager who has grown up with computers, I’m intimately aware of txt spk. I’m part of the generation that developed this “language”, and I’m part of the generation that uses it. I honestly don’t feel that the use of txt spk has in anyway ruined anyone’s ability to use Standard English, let alone my own. Is it proof enough that I am in the PROW program? I’ve always enjoyed language: reading it, writing it, doing anything with it. Now this is not to say that I’m the rule, but a study, found here, done by three researchers in Great Britain has found that youth who use txt spk on a regular basis actually “tend to have a better grasp of [normal] word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness, even when controlled for age, memory, and how long they have owned a phone.(Cheng)” This only confirms what another study done by Canadian researchers found, that those who use txt spk in IM (instant messaging) have a higher than average grasp on the English language and how to use it properly.

Not only has research shown that txt spk is not negatively affecting youth, but that those who use it are actually above average when it comes to language and it’s conventions. I think the real problem is people being unaware of when txt spk is appropriate, and when it is not. As fellow student Sarah Maludzinski says in her blog post, “Txt Spk – Convenient or just sloppy?”, there is a time and a place for txt spk. People need to decide when it is an appropriate situation for txt spk, and it is possible that rules should be set down in English conventions to regulate the use of txt spk. After all, txt spk may be a form of slang, but it seems to be making itself quite at home in everyday language. The English Language develops everyday, maybe this is the direction it’s heading in now. No longer do we speak as Shakespeare once did, and students can even access Shakespeare in txt spk now. So as far as txt spk goes, is it 2 b, or nt 2 be? Well, dat iz d Q.

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