“Don’t know about you, but I’m confused”
Is text messaging destroying the English language? Numerous protectors of the integrity of English have certainly suspected so, and such concerns are raised constantly in the media. Some would argue that it’s no big deal. What difference should it make how we communicate, as long as we do so?
There is an increasing concern that the birth of a heavily abbreviated text messaging language could bring about severe problems for the English language in the near future. Journalists across the globe have condemned the casual usage of text language in formal mediums such as emails, yet the world only seems to have recently started to take notice. Could it be that the prevalence of text language is leading not only to poor spelling but also to the death of the English language as we know it? I certainly hope not.
It is a recognized fact, of course, that text language can be a quick and efficient method of communicating with one another in an informal environment, but so can the ENGLISH language! Abbreviations such as ‘tbh’ instead of ‘to be honest or ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ make me want to scream, “What’s wrong with the language we already have?”
These lazy spelling forms are gradually penetrating into our communication skills set, and according to Job Bank USA, numerous employers are receiving job applications written in text language. In particular they note that many applicants have a tendency to speak informally and use text message abbreviations, giving the impression that they are corresponding with an old friend rather than a potential employer. Such prospective applicants seem therefore poorly educated, lazy, and unprofessional. Needless to say, in most cases such applications are thrown in the bin and never thought of again.
As with most people under 60 living in the world today, texting has become an integral part of everyday life. I don’t especially enjoy texting because I’m not very good at it. After painfully texting my message I have to proofread it, correct all the mistakes and add the proper punctuation before I press send, because good or bad, we make an impression on someone based on how accurately and effectively we communicate.
When I was teaching Communications Skills at Bainbridge College the text speak language was making its way into my classroom. Students were using it in their notes, and sometimes even in their exams. Teachers are concerned that it is destroying students’ understanding of grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Why do we want to allow our beautiful language to be dumbed down to speed up communication? Since when is faster better than eloquent? We have had twenty years to watch the effects of text speak on the younger generation and, though it may strengthen relationships once handicapped by distance, is it worth the risk? Is there anything we can do to lessen or even nullify the consequences of text speak on the English language?
Texters need to at least be aware that their communication skills send written and verbal signals out to the world, and how well those signals are received determines what people think about them. Some seventy percent of schools have banned cell phones from their campuses. Our schools need to add texting to the list and ban text speak from any type of school work. If we can keep texting out of education, maybe we can save the English language from being destroyed by text speak and still allow it to speed up and enrich our communications. What do you think?
I remember a time when being social meant visiting people’s houses not their home pages; doorbells rang more frequently than cell phones, and entire neighborhoods found the time to be more neighborly. Our world needs to slow down and take a deep breath!
Comments and impressions are welcomed and requested at firstname.lastname@example.org