Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Is text speak a bad thing?

I've always felt proud of the fact that I'm not very good at text speak. I was in my twenties before I got my first mobile phone, and as well as being a stickler for always using good grammar and correct spelling, I'm not always the coolest kid (or adult) on the block. I've discussed text speak with other parents, and the general feeling has been that the constant use of text speak in email, text messages, and instant online chat can only be a bad thing when it comes to learning and reinforcing good grammar habits. However, an article published in the Telegraph last week made me rethink this point of view.

Researchers from Coventry University assessed primary and secondary school age children, and although their sample was relatively small, their findings seem to show that there is no evidence linking the use of text speak, with its associated poor grammar and spelling, and the understanding of grammar and aptitude for spelling amongst children when writing standard English.

Perhaps rather than indicating a lack of ability to use good grammar, it actually shows that children and teenagers have the ability to learn a new language. As well as being competently literate in standard English, kids of today are also literate in text speak, able to switch from one to the other depending on the situation. So maybe, instead of worrying that constant texting will impede the ability of our kids to write and spell correctly in other areas of life, we should celebrate their bilingualism.

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