Txting isn’t killing good writing
It’s easy to criticise the way people write in text messages and social media. But that’s too simplistic a way to see a language that is always evolving.
Take a look at the image above. The message says ‘I arrived all right about 4 oclock hope you are all right grand wether’. Is it another example of how modern technology is lowering standards of writing? No, it’s not. As Dr Caroline Tagg points out in the Guardian, the text is from a postcard written in 1907.
There was no golden age when people wrote perfectly in informal communications. People have always played around with words. What’s more, as the Guardian article highlights, research shows that children who use textisms have greater phonological awareness. They understand how language works and they are happier to play around with or manipulate it to achieve the effect they want.
Similarly, linguist John McWhorter argues that there’s more to texting than it seems – both linguistically and culturally. He believes that texting ‘is a whole new way of writing that young people are developing, which they're using alongside their ordinary writing skills’. It’s an idea he expands on more in his TED talk.
So new tools for writing such as mobile phones are encouraging young people to play with language as, of course, they always have. Dr Tagg concludes that ‘children are probably writing more than ever before, and they are doing so freely and through their own choice, developing their writing skills through play’.
Surely that must be a good thing. Keep on txting, I say. We’ll c u l8er.