Knox 1Jerica KnoxEnglish 101Professor BoltonDecember 7, 2012 Texting: A Branch of the English Language In the essay “2b or Not 2b,” by David Crystal, texting is talked about as being helpful andcreated for a specific purpose. Specifically, Crystal responds to the claim that texting is actually thedestruction to the English language. He encourages texting and the “hybrid” language that is said tohave formed from it. As the author puts it himself, “The drive to be playful is there when we text, and itis hugely powerful. Within two or three years of the arrival of texting, it developed a ludic dimension.In short, its fun,” (341). On the other hand, some people would not agree with this. Some people feelthat texting is a problem that needs to be rid of. However, they have no valid proof that texting is a badthing. There are studies that suggest otherwise, however, that Crystal points out, and I agree with them.Texting and its hybrid language are not damaging and the destruction to the English language, butmerely a branch of an ever growing tree. To begin, although the hybrid language used in texting has been around years before texting, itis just now being seen as damaging. This is interesting because this so called hybrid language is merelymade up of abbreviations (TTYL—talk to you later—GTG or G2G—got to go). Abbreviations havebeen around way longer than texting. They were found in dictionaries before texting. In fact, accordingto Crystal, many of them were being used in chat rooms on the computer even before the arrival of cellphones. Also, “adults who condemn a ‘c u’ in a young persons texting have forgotten that they oncedid the same thing themselves (though not on a mobile phone). In countless Christmas annuals, theysolved puzzles like this one: YY U R YY U B I C U R YY 4 ME (“Too wise you are...”)” (Crystal 338).Therefore, texting cannot be criticized for its language based on the fact that these rebuses, singleletters and numbers to represent words, have been around long before.
Knox 2 Keeping this in mind, this hybrid language is not damaging, and as a matter of fact, it is useful.For one thing, this so called “destructive” language convicted a man of murder. According to Crystalsessay, there are individual differences in the way people text: “In 2002, Stuart Campbell was foundguilty of the murder of his 15-year-old niece after his text message alibi was shown to be a forgery,”(Crystal 340). The text messages of the two were compared, and it was shown that the style of the textand the vocabulary were actually Campbells. Therefore, texting can actually be helpful to society.Moving on, texting promotes creativity. It even sparks competitions such as events to find the bestSMS poems. Infact, T-Mobile created a competition involving SMS poems: “To celebrate WorldPoetry Day in 2007, T-Mobile tried to find the UKs first “Txt laureate” in a competition for the bestromantic poem in SMS” (Crystal 341). The 200 entries that were sent in consisted of a mixture of 180-charactered unabbreviated and abbreviated texts to show creativity in SMS poems. So, therefore,texting does spark creativity. Furthermore, texting can actually be useful for educational purposes aswell. According to the article, “Does Text Messaging Hurt Student Writing Skills?” by JessicaHaralson, “Consider that educational services can use texting to their benefit. In fact, tech-savvy bookpublishers are using the technology to reach out to tweens. According to USA Today, HarperCollins,which publishes popular tween author Meg Cabot, is launching a program where students can sign upfor weekly text messages from Cabot herself,” (par. 5). With the help of technology, texting promotesreading. If more people figure out ways to connect to students and kids with things that they areinterested in, education would improve. Text messaging could be turned around for educational use.Therefore, texting proves to be useful in the hands of people. In addition, texting language evolves from the English language, so, therefore, it is merely abranch of a wordy tree. As Crystal puts it, “Before you can write and play with abbreviated forms, youneed to have a sense of how the sounds of your language relate to the letters. You need to know thatthere is such thing as alternative spellings” (Crystal 345). Basically, to even use alternative spelling, Imust first understand that there is a base to lean on. Personally, I am a texter. I am aware that my
Knox 3texting is different, which means that I know that there is such thing as a standard. Thus, texting is notthe destruction of the English language. The English language is merely the trunk of a tree whiletexting is a branch. Language is meant to evolve and develop according to its surroundings. Keep inmind that the language as a whole has changed. English started from the words “tis” and “thee” butthose vocabulary are not used very commonly these days. It is called change. Therefore, the languagewill not fall. “The language as a whole will not decline. In texting, what we are seeing, in a small way,is language in evolution,” (Crystal 345). English is here to stay. Texting will not be the decline of sucha long-standing language. Texting simply opens new doors. In conclusion, texting and its language are merely a useful branch of the English language thatpromotes creativity to normal literacy. Texting language allows creativity through words while alsohelping to distinguish who we are. It is not the destruction of the English language, but a part of it. Ashumans, we are designed to change according to setting. Texting language simply originated from analready made language—English—to adapt to having only 180 characters. These 180 characters sparkindividuality and a chance to create with words.
Knox 4 Works CitedCrystal, David. “2b or Not 2b?” They Say I Say with Readings. 2nd Edition. Eds. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2010. 335-345. Print.Haralson, Jessica Gold. "Does Text Messaging Hurt Student Writing Skills?" American Teacher. Nov 2007: 4. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Oct 2012.