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Is Texting Killing The English Language Summary

Decent Essays
This essay critically evaluates media article, “Is Texting Killing the English Language?” (McWhorter, 2013). This essay will examine key assertions made by McWhorter that the language of texting is not the same as traditional writing, therefore the accepted grammar and vocabulary entailing is different to standard English grammar. Thus, McWhorter asserts that despite the different grammar users of “textese” have are able to distinguish between texting and traditional writing. In an age of growing concerns within the media about the potential negative influence of texting on literacy skills, particularly amongst young people, McWhorter asserts that there is no negative influence. This essay will critically evaluate and equate these key assertions…show more content…
Texting has also been coined terms such as ‘textese’ and ‘fingered speech’. Unlike the often deliberate and self-conscious process of writing, in which the individual has time to self-edit their thoughts, technological advancements in the field of mobile phones has allowed users to record their thoughts with much more speed. This act of “[writing] as if [they were] saying it” equates to a playful and informal register (Thurlow & Brown, 2013). Texting has a sense of immediacy between individuals and allows users to transgress the boundaries of distance. Before the use of mobile phones, technologies such as emailing and paging and even letters allowed individuals to do this, but not with the same speed as texting (Ling, 2005). Informal and natural aspect of texting due to speed involved allows individuals to connect as they would if they were speaking.
McWhorter’s second assertion is that as texting has evolved, so has the grammar and language associated with it. “getting richer and more complex by the
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Grammar involved within texting (e.g. leaving out letters) is purposeful and does not deter from an individual’s ability to spell and identify errors within the standard English language. A study conducted by Powell and Dixon (2011) in which participants undertook a spelling tests of 30 words twice, before and after a period of exposure provides evidence for this assertion. Those who were exposed to misspellings of the words were more likely to misspell the word themselves upon retaking the text. Those who were exposed to “textisms” i.e. abbreviated versions performed either just as well or better.
McWhorter’s next assertion explains this correlation as the ability to differentiate between textese and traditional written English. Individuals can distinguish between textisms and ordinary misspellings (Powell & Dixon, 2011). The ability to recognise these two registers can be explained as a skill which underlies ones ability to manipulate spoken, written and texted language. Features of textese such as abbreviations draw upon this skill set and in turn develop the individual’s phonic awareness and ability to manipulate languages, therefore improving their literacy skills. (Kemp,
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