Parsons 1Rebekah ParsonsEnglish 101Professor BoltonOctober 18, 2012 The Real Influences of Texting David Crystal disproves the common belief that texting will destroy language in his work,“2b or Not 2b.” Crystal states that texting can in fact improve literacy skills. He points out thefact that one has to actually know the standard language before one can use alternatives orabbreviated forms.By texting, people also have the opportunity to play and experiment withlanguage, and according to Crystal, “it’s fun” (341).Another point Crystal makes is that the goalof the person texting is to be understood, and so alterations to words tend to normally beminor or easily readable. Heincludes the reminder that abbreviating words is not a new ideaasan additional example of how texting will not destroy language. Crystal explains that textingis just another form of communication; therefore, language will not decline or be destroyed. Iagree with Crystal that the language used in text messaging will not destroy standard languagebecause my personal experiences confirm it. Through my personal experiences, I am able to verify Crystal’s claim that texting canhelp language and improve reading and writing skills. Crystal discusses different studies on thelinks between texting and literacy in pre-teenage children. The results of the studies showedthat “the more abbreviations in *the children’s+ messages, the higher they scored on tests ofreading and vocabulary. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the mosttextisms. And the younger they received their first phone, the higher their scores” (Crystal
Parsons 2345).He uses the results as additional support for his assertion that texting improves literacybecause the children that used more abbreviations scored higher. Also, in order to be able toplay with abbreviated forms, one has to have a sense of how the sounds of words relate to theletters. According to Crystal, knowing that there is a standard is necessary in order to useunconventional language. Personally, I know I would not be able to use texting abbreviations ifI did not know what the correct form was supposed to be. This is true in soccer as well; therules have to be understood first. For example, I have to know that I cannot use my handsbefore I can explore the different ways of dribbling the ball. Then, I can discover creative waysto move the ball with my feet, head, or other body parts besides my hands. In texting too, theoriginal form of the word has to be known before exploring the different alterations of it.Texting also improves spelling because the textism sepr8sets up “the orthographic[representation] of the correct [form], and…*focuses+ attention on words’ phonologicalstructure” (Kemp, par. 8).Some abbreviations focus on the way a word sounds and can helpwith sounding words out. Texting helps language rather than destroy it and can improveliteracy as well, which is shown through my personal experiences. I can also confirm, by my personal experiences, that texting will not destroy languagebecause abbreviations have been around for a long time. Crystal reminds the reader that theuse of initial letters for whole words (gf for “girlfriend” and cmb for “call me back”) is not a newconcept. IOU is a familiar phrase, and the only difference between the modern “lol” (laughingout loud) and the older generation’s “swalk” (sealed with a kiss) is the medium ofcommunication (Crystal 338-339). People have been abbreviating words ever since the Englishlanguage has been written down, but interestingly enough, the English language is unique in
Parsons 3itsuse of abbreviations. Evidence offers that “the English orthography is quite irregular… andany relationship with other literacy skills, might be rather different in other languages” (Kemp,par. 6).The fact that English is one of the few languages that abbreviates words shows thatlanguage will not be destroyed. Anyhow, Crystal explains that abbreviating words saves timeand energy. Some abbreviated words, such as exam, fridge, and bus, are so familiar that theyhave become new words. From experience, I know that abbreviating words actually does savetime and energy. However, I need to be positive that the person who receives my text will beable to understand me and know what I am talking about; therefore, I have to make sure theabbreviations are familiar and readable. Also, before I had a cell phone, I used instantmessaging and e-mail to communicate with my friends; even then, I used shortened versions ofwords. Abbreviations come in handy when I am taking notes in class or writing a note to myselfas well. The altered words used in text messaging will not destroy language, and my personalexperience confirms that idea. I agree with Crystal that conventional language will not be destroyed by the languageused in texting because I can verify his opinion through my personal experiences. The idea thattexting improves literacy skills is logical. Using soccer as an example, I recognize that one has toknow thestandard way before being able to do it differently. Additionally, abbreviations havebeen around for a long time; language has not already been destroyed, and will not bedestroyed now because the medium has changed. Finally, it is clear that “exposure to textesedoes not result in the deterioration of conventional reading, writing and other language skills.On the contrary, the relationship between textese use and literacy skills seems to beoverwhelmingly positive” (Kemp, par. 9). Texting appears to be causing no harm to standard
Parsons 4language skills. Texting will not destroy language; it is simply the modern means ofcommunication, and it is actually language evolving.
Parsons 5 Works CitedCrystal, David. “2b or Not 2b.”They Say I Say with Readings. 2nded. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. W.W. Norton and Company, 2010. 335-345. Print.Kemp, N."Mobile technology and literacy: effects across cultures, abilities and the lifespan." Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2011): n. pag.Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Oct. 2012.