Texting develops literacy

Textese may drive teachers crazy, but linguists say it develops literacy, writes Lily Huang in Newsweek.

David Crystal’s Txtng: the Gr8 Db8 (Oxford) makes two general points: that the language of texting is hardly as deviant as people think, and that texting actually makes young people better communicators, not worse.

. . . in one British experiment last year, children who texted — and who wielded plenty of abbreviations—scored higher on reading and vocabulary tests. In fact, the more adept they were at abbreviating, the better they did in spelling and writing. Far from being a means to getting around literacy, texting seems to give literacy a boost. The effect is similar to what happens when parents yak away to infants or read to toddlers: the more exposure children get to language, by whatever means, the more verbally skilled they become. “Before you can write abbreviated forms effectively and play with them, you need to have a sense of how the sounds of your language relate to the letters,” says Crystal.

What comes after texting?

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Comments

  1. This study makes some sense, but I do think that teachers need to continue trying to move their students to literacy in Standard English.

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    I love these “studies”.

    “In fact, the more adept they were at abbreviating, the better they did in spelling and writing.”

    Perhaps, the more adept they were at spelling and writing, the better they were at using abbreviations.

    It’s like the more reading students do, the better readers they become. The best readers are the ones most likely to read alot. Therefore, they become better readers.

  3. Texting reminds me of shorthand. It’s funny how technology replaced the need to know shorthand but has led to the development of cell phones and texting. Of course, it’s important to know how to read and spell words correctly. However, I also think there is a place for texting and enjoy communicating this way. The kids I know who text each other are also good readers and writers.

  4. I had d sam chckn n eg QstN as Stacy. D Rticl choz not 2 discu$ d po$blty of opsit coz n fect.

    RGDS, PM

    ROFL

  5. Maybe there’s an intelligence thing going on. Smart kids are likely to be better at both texting and old fashioned spelling and reading.

  6. Sigh. Another example of the decades-old inability of the education establishment to differentiate between correlation and causation.

Trackbacks

  1. dustbury.com says:

    OMGNTA (NTTAWWT)…

    A book — you know, one of those dead-tree things — argues that text messages are not, in fact, going to be the death of English: David Crystal’s Txtng: the Gr8 Db8 (Oxford) makes two general points: that the language……