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Is text speak destroying language?

india Updated: Oct 24, 2012 13:20 IST
Text speak


New research compiled by brings together all of the good and bad data about texting.

As well as video games, text messaging comes in for a lot of criticism for the effect it can have on younger people. It is accused of eroding language and of creating generations of children unable to spell properly or correctly understand grammar and sentence structure. But that hasn't stopped 8 trillion text messages (15 million every minute) from being sent over the last year. According to the latest figures, 95% of 18-24-year-olds own a mobile phone and 97% of them text on a daily basis, sending an average of 109.5 texts a day.

To investigate the subject more thoroughly, has compiled data and existing research from a number of sources including the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the British Journal of Psychology and the Mother Nature Network to show how the communication medium has evolved over the past 19 years (the first text message was sent in December 1992) and to highlight the positive and negative effects it is having on the younger generation.

Texters still say 'please'

The study highlights that a number of texting abbreviations, including LOL (laugh out loud), FYI (for your information) and BFF (best friend forever), have made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, and that while one piece of research has highlighted that people who text are less likely to accept new words from sources other than their texting circle, another shows that on the whole, those who do text are not modifying the language as much as many think. It found that ‘you are' and ‘u r' are equally common, while texters are three times more likely to text ‘please' and ‘thank you' than ‘pls' or ‘thx'.

Other studies have underlined how it can drive brevity and speed of communication and can actually increase reading skills, though a study of texting school children also underlined that as text speak has increased, grammar assessment scores have decreased in schools.

Therefore it should come as little surprise that 24% of UK K-12 schools and 62% of US K-12 schools have banned cell phones from school grounds and classrooms respectively.

Text messaging and in particular text speak can divide opinion but there is no sign of it disappearing in the future. It is estimated that over the next five years, text messaging alone will be responsible for generating over $726 billion in revenues for mobile network providers. OMG!