Here is the actual paper that I wrote for my History of the English Language Project:

Texting has become extremely popular in today’s society and it is still becoming more and more popular especially among the younger generations. In the words of Peggy Drexler a contributor to Forbes Magazine online,

Even if not all conversation comes in the form of the language of texting, it is still important to be fluent in the language of texting:If conversation is an art, art takes practice. Today, that practice time is used up screen-to-screen, rather than face-to-face or through composing a well-constructed letter. And yet the reports of the death of eloquent expression may be greatly exaggerated. If we look at what the age of digital information—and texting and other forms of digital shorthand in particular—has done to the art of interpersonal communication, all is not lost. It’s just different. And in some world-changing ways: better. (Drexler)

In the words of Kristen Hawley Turner,
I quickly realized that most texters, and especially those who were sitting in my classroom as students, did not view text speak as a demon sent to destroy Standard English. Rather, these students— who are 10, 15, or even 20 years younger than I am—are truly digital natives who are fluent in the language that rules computers, games, and the internet (Prensky). They write, and perhaps even think, in this alternate speech. (Turner 60).

 

So it is clearly very important to be in the known on how to text and what a text constitutes because it is changing and developing into a language of its own. This language consists of abbreviating words and sentences, truncating words and sentences, creating acronyms for phrases, leaving words out of sentences, and not using proper punctuation, grammar and capitalization.

Norman Silver even wrote two poems to explain what the language of texting is becoming today,

TXT Commandments” by Norman Silver

1.u shall luv ur mobil fone with all ur hart
2.u & ur fone shall neva b apart
3.u shall nt lust aftr ur neibrs fone nor thiev
4.u shall b prepard @ all times 2 tXt & 2 recv
5.u shall use LOL & othr acronyms in conversatns

6.u shall be zappy with ur ast*r*sks & exc!matns!!

7.u shall abbrevi8 & rite words like theyr sed

8.u shall nt speak 2 sum 1 face2face if u cn msg em insted

 

9.u shall nt shout with capitls XEPT IN DIRE EMERGNCY +

10. u shall nt consult a ninglish dictnry (Crystal ELT)

langwij by Norman Silver

langwij
is hi-ly infectious

children
the world ova catch it from prance
by word of mouth

the yung
r specially vulnerable
so care
shud b taken how langwij is spread

symptoms include acute goo-goo
& the equally serious ga-ga

if NE child
is infected with langwij
give em
3 Tspoons of txt
b4 bedtime
& 1⁄2 a tablet of verse
after every meal” (Crystal ELT 77-78).

Despite the popularity of texting today it has caused many controversies over whether it is making people illiterate and lazy and many people think that encourages being illiterate and not being able to read and write properly. In the words of David Crystal in his book txtng: the gr8 db8, Short messaging, short mail, SMSing, person-to-person messaging, mobile messaging, wireless messaging, text messaging, texting, txtng…whatever we call it, it is evidently here to stay. It is available on other systems, too, such as the Japanese DoCoMo i- mode service and the iPhone. So if it is causing problems, we need to be able to manage them. And if it is providing benefits, we need to know how to build on them. The surprising thing, for such a global phenomenon, is that so little reliable information about the language of texting has become public knowledge. Psychologists, sociologists, health specialists, journalists, and educators have plenty to say; but hardly any reports provide details of what exactly happens to language when people create texts. As a result, a huge popular mythology has grown up, in which exaggerated and distorted accounts of what youngsters are believed to do when they text has fueled prophecies of impending linguistic disaster. (Crystal, txtng).

 

One article called “Is Texting Killing the English Language?” Discusses how texting is getting more and more popular but is at the same time getting more and more controversial as well.

Many young people today deem texting as the accepted form of communication and it is continuing to grow as one of the main forms of communication in society today. despite its popularity it is causing controversies as well. Many people believe hit is killing the english language and making people illiterate. It is in a way a spoken language and is continuing to become a culture of its own, it develops and changes as it becomes more popular. Words, phrases and abbreviations go in and out of style and change meaning in the same way they do in any other language. In the word son John Mcwhorter, “Texting has long been bemoaned as the downfall of the written word, “penmanship for illiterates,” as one critic called it. To which the proper response is LOL. Texting properly isn’t writing at all — it’s actually more akin to spoken language. And it’s a “spoken” language that is getting richer and more complex by the

year.” (Mcwhorter).

No one actually talks texts but we don’t speak the way we write, even in proper English. Spoken language has been around for about 80,000 years and written language can be traced back to about 5,500 years and even then people did not write the way they talked. According to John McWhorter, “Over time, writers took advantage of this and started crafting tapeworm sentences such as this one, from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: ‘The whole engagement lasted above 12 hours, till the gradual retreat of the Persians was changed into a disorderly flight, of which the shameful example was given by the principal leaders and the Surenas himself.’” (McWhorter). Even when texting the words an phrases are not always literal. LOL doesn’t mean actually laughing out loud and I’m dying doesn’t actually mean your literally dying. They are just things to ease tension and empathize between people texting.

There was even an instance recently when a girl in west Scotland turned in a paper for her English class about her summer vacation written entirely in Texting Language. In the words of the teacher, “‘I could not believe what I was seeing. The page was riddled with hieroglyphics, many of which I simply could not translate.’” (Cramb). According to one article, “The teenager’s essay began: ‘My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we usd 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kds FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.’” (Cramb). (My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before we used to go to New York City to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York, it’s a great place.) But this doesn’t prove that there is truly any evidence for texting causing people to be illiterate or allow a writing system for illiterate people. This is shown in the reason the girl wrote the essay this way, “The 13-year-old girl submitted the essay to a teacher in a state secondary school in the west of Scotland and explained that she found it ‘easier than standard English’.” (Cramb). She was choosing to be lazy this does not prove her to be illiterate nor does it prove that texting causes people to be illiterate it just proves that people are lazy.

 

Texting is also becoming very popular as a format for writing novels and books for young adults and teens. This is also a way in which texting is causing controversies among the older and younger generations. Recently there have been several articles about a recent series of books published by Penguin Random House written in texting language. One article was called “Yolo Juliet, Macbeth’s #killingit: Academics horrified at ‘dumbing down’ of Shakespeare as the Bard’s greatest works are retold in EMOJI” and is about how text language is leaking into literature and dumbing down our education and taking Shakespeare out of Shakespeare.

Penguin Random House has recently published a series of books called OMG Shakespeare. These books have attempted to make Shakespeare easier to understand for younger readers and those who have a hard time reading in the first place. This series is made of four books called YOLO Juliet, Macbeth #Killing it, srsly Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night #nofilter and it attempts to make Shakespeare easier to read by rewriting it in a series of texting conversations.

 

Many people like the idea of making it easier to understand because texting is becoming more and more popular and many younger people and teenagers are using it as their main form of communication. People see it as a kind of literature that most people of the younger generation will understand and find more interesting and they believe that doing this makes it more accessible to people who wouldn’t normally understand Shakespeare in general. In YOLO Juliet, Juliet in one of the many balcony scenes says she hearts Romeo and Marcellus in srsly Hamlet takes a picture of the dead kings ghost and sends it to Horatio and Bernardo.

Despite all of the good praise this series it gets it also gets a lot of bad criticisms. According to Ollie Gillman, “Professor Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, said OMG Shakespeare was another sign of the ‘dumbing down’ of education.” (Gillman). Smithers claims the attempt s disastrous and takes Shakespeare out of Shakespeare. He gives credit to those who attempted saying that it was a great concept and a good idea to make it more accessible but it didn’t turn out so well. he claims that, “‘Shakespeare is about the story that is told, but is more to do with the rhythm of the prose and the language used.’” (Gillman). So clearly no one actually talked the way Shakespeare wrote but it is about the art surrounding the language used in his plays. this ties back to the way no one talks in texting language but it is in itself a language and a culture the same way Shakespeare’s plays were their own language and culture. Smithers also said that it can made more accessible in other ways, “‘I remember when they tried to recreate the Bible as a cartoon and this sounds similar. While part of the idea is useful, you lose the real literature behind it. It will be the same with Shakespeare. So yes, let’s make Shakespeare more accessible to children and students – but let’s do it with better teaching.’” (Gillman). So texting in literature can be a good thing and can appeal to many people of the current younger generation but it the way it is implemented can turn out to be very controversial.

 

Some people even take the opposite stance on text language in academia. According to Kristen Hawley Turner,

Parents and teachers may still question the sustainability of text speak in academic settings. Many may argue that aside from its use as authentic dialogue and as a type of shorthand note taking, its appropriateness in school is limited……If teachers and parents can acknowledge that text speak is indeed appropriate in the digital world that students navigate daily, then perhaps we can see its use in school as a difference, rather than a deficit, and teach students how to code-switch from this language that has become part of their primary discourse into the more formal language of school and the larger society. (Turner 63-64).

Dumbing down literature and education isn’t the only reason that texting in novels has become controversial. Themes that this format allows to be written in young adult novels is causing controversy as well. Lauren Myracle, author of many young adult novels, has recently written a series of book that have been scrutinized by public eyes. These books called Ttyl, Ttfn, L8r G8r, and Yolo are written completely in text language and have been placed on the American Library Association banned or challenged book list for explicit content and “inappropriate themes.” According to one article on Daily Mail, “The controversial themes – that include sex, drugs and alcohol – are not the only thing to spark outrage from conservative readers across the nation. The books are written entirely in instant message language.” (Wellman). They were even “banned from a town in Texas where parents are disgusted by the profanity and sexually explicit nature of the book.” (Wellman). Myracle wrote these books with these themes because they are no longer taboo to talk about and discuss and so this is what young adults and teens talk about in their everyday conversations, thus these are the themes that teens and young adults are going to talk about in their texting conversations. Because of this they can relate to it more if it its written in texts with those themes. The themes in these books are also there because parents often do not discuss these subjects with their teens and young adults. As quoted from Myracle herself, “‘My favorite comments come from girls who say, ‘I feel like you’ve given me a self-help book because my parents won’t talk about this.’” (Wellman). Myracle is proud of the fact that she wrote books with these themes because teens need to talk about them and learn about them and she is not backing down from this stance any time soon.

 

Texting is causing controversy in the way it is being used and how people think it has an influence over people’s literacy. Many people think it makes people illiterate and unable to read and write and lazy when in reality it has become it’s own language and culture and it is important to be literate in this language. Many people believe texting is allowing classic literature and education to be dumbed down and allowing things to happen like taking Shakespeare out of Shakespeare, when in reality texting can be used in literature and education and schools in its own way but not a way that causes students to become lazy and illiterate. Many people also believe that texting is allowing inappropriate topics to bemused and misused and talked about among teens and young adult when in reality it is allowing a forum and a format to help teens understand and talk about these topic in a good way, in way that they can understand the consequences that come with these things and how they affect them and those around them. Texting makes things easier but that does not mean it is abad thing or that it makes people lazy or illiterate in some way. It is the use of texting and not the act of the texting itself that causes one effect or the other. Texting can be a good thing, it is not in itself inherently bad.

 

Works cited
Cramb, Auslan., “Girl writes English essay in phone text shorthand” The Telegraph 3 Mar. 2003 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1423572/Girl-writes-English-essay-in-phone text-shorthand.html. 3 May 2017

Crystal, David., “Texting” ELT Journal 62.1 (2008): 77-83. Print.

Crystal, David., txtng: the gr8 db8. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Drexler, Peggy., “The Importance of Being Fluent in The Language of Texting” Forbes, http:// http://www.forbes.com/sites/peggydrexler/2014/06/23/the-importance-of-being-fluent-in-the- language-of-texting/#6f0f3bb22c63. 3 May. 2017 Web.

Gillman, Ollie., “Yolo Juliet, Macbeth’s #killingit: Academics horrified at ‘dumbing down’ of Shakespeare as the Bard’s greatest works are retold in EMOJI” Daily Mail, 12 June 2015 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3121419/Yolo-Juliet-Macbeth-s-killingit- Academics-horrified-dumbing-Shakespeare-Bard-s-greatest-works-retold-EMOJI.html. 3 May 2017 Web.

McWhorter, John., “Is Texting Killing the English Language?” TIME, 15 Apr. 2013 http:// ideas.time.com/2013/04/25/is-texting-killing-the-english-language/. 3 May 2017 Web. Turner, Kristen Hawley., “Flipping the Switch: Code-Switching from Text Speak to Standard English” English Journal 98.5 (2009): 60-65. Print.

Wellman, Victoria., “America’s most hated books? Controversial tween novel series written entirely in text message shorthand tops new list” Daily Mail, 11 April 2012, updated 12 April 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2128256/America-s-hated-books- Controversial-tween-novel-series-written-entirely-text-message-shorthand-tops-new- list.html. 3 May 2017. Web.

 

Websites Webopedia http://www.webopedia.com/

Make Use Of http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-sites-to-send-free-text-messages-to-cell- phones-sms/ “10 sites to send free Text Messages to Cell Phones” by Jack Cola August 19th, 2009

Net Lingo http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php “NetLingo List of Chat Acronyms & Text Shorthand”

Your Dictionary http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/slang/texting-slang.html “Texting Slang”

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