And many believe our language is being perverted by the shortcuts (and concision nearly to the point of indifference) we’ve become accustomed to writing and reading in text messages and tweets.For many teachers and writing pedagogues, this is a travesty, a torturous fact of modern life that we all must contend with and defend against in our classrooms.
And many believe our language is being perverted by the shortcuts (and concision nearly to the point of indifference) we’ve become accustomed to writing and reading in text messages and tweets.
We rely on automated grammar and spell-check tools in word-processing software (so much that they’ve become a crutch).
E-mail shorthand fails to live up to the grammatical standards of typed or handwritten letters.
One of the primary goals of abbreviations in text- or Twitter-speak is to condense an utterance to fit the 160 character limit of a text-message or the 140 character limit of a Twitter post (or Tweet).
However, there is also a certain charm, a playfulness, involved.
He points out that the average texter is aware when they are breaking the rules.
He or she is aware of the ways that text-message-speak distorts Standard English — aware, in fact, to the point of revelry.And, interestingly, the average text-message or tweet distorts grammar much less than the naysayers would have us believe.In fact, more often, text-messages and tweets rely on very conventional sentence structures and word order to create clear contexts for the various abridgments.For example, neologisms are quite common in the world of texting.In a recent exchange I had via text, “hiyah” came to mean both a greeting (as in “hi ya”) and the sound-effect accompanying a karate-chop, a calculated portmanteau, a “hello” that feels like an assault.Crystal goes on to refute this belief a few pages later, writing, “All the popular beliefs about texting are wrong, or at least debatable.Its graphic distinctiveness is not a totally new phenomenon. There is increasing evidence that it helps rather than hinders literacy” (9).Students aren’t terrified to send text messages or post status updates to Twitter or Facebook, but they are often terrified to write academic papers.David Crystal writes, in , “The popular belief is that texting has evolved as a twenty-first-century phenomenon — as a highly distinctive graphic style, full of abbreviations and deviant uses of language, used by a young generation that doesn’t care about standards.Rather, we must think consciously (and practically) about how our students’ conceptions of (and contexts for) writing are changing, and we must approach the teaching of grammar in new and innovative ways.While I agree that technology has wrought a certain violence upon grammar, I would argue that writing instructors can exact an even more punishing and permanent sort of violence.