Reading Between the Text Message Lines: How a Culture Becomes Dependent on Electronic Communication and Changes Language Skills Forever.

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David G. Fisher Professor Hallawell English 249 (Linguistics) 25 October 2011 Reading between the text message lines: How a culture becomes dependent on electronic communication and changes language skills forever. They are everywhere, in schoolyards, high school halls, businesses and even our own homes and they are having an effect on our culture at this very minute. You may even be reading this on one right now. They are cell phones and more and more they are being used for more than just talking; they are being used to send e-mail, text, and instant messages. What originally started out as a way to have more communication in case of emergencies and to have a way for teenagers and adults to stay connected to what is going…show more content…
In her book, Always On, Naomi S. Baron coined a phrase “linguistic whateverism” to explain how a new generation and group of people are rebelliously ignoring established rules for language. There are unique features contained in e-mails, texts and IM’s that give ease to conveying what one wants to express. The first obvious aspect of texting is the use of abbreviations and contractions. The English language uses contractions a lot of the time anyway in speech and writing. Don’t, didn’t, isn’t and can’t are all part of everyone’s vocabulary. What becomes obvious when text messages are studied closer is that apostrophes nearly stop being used; only showing up around 30 percent of the time. (Baron) There is also another part of messaging that is used repeatedly. It is the practice of using logograms or characters (letters) to signify words. These can be used alone or in small groupings such as b4 (before), l8 (late), and 2day (today). Usually time is of the essence in these types of messages so it makes sense that these logograms would come into use. If this were just unique to electronic messaging there would be no issue. However it is being seen that fewer students (of all ages) are interested in other forms of communication and fewer have the ability to write their own papers for school, etc. (Melton, Shankle) According to a BBC news article there has been a rise in the amount of North Americans who buy there written assignments overseas online.

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