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Text Messaging Affects Language Skills English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 1282 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in the relativity of using cell phones to communicate. Cell phones have become the fundamental components of family life, especially for most teenagers. Appearance of unlimited texting plans offered by phone companies like Sprint, T-mobile and Verizon, texting is becoming hard to resist. “IYO TXTng = Gd 4 or NME of Lang?” (Text Message Dictionary) If you cannot understand the previous sentence, then you are most likely are not aware of the language of the text messaging. Who are the originators of this language? The answer is most of the teenagers in the modern society. The translation for the vague sentence above is: “In your opinion, is texting good for or the enemy of language?” Text messaging has provided our society with a quick means through which to communicate. It has taken out the need for capitalization, punctuation and the use and knowledge of sentence structure. However, this recent form of communication has become so prominent that some educationists worry that it may be damaging teen’s literacy skills. Others, however, believe that teenagers are making their own language in the modern society and see no effect on their students’ language skills.

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I think that the one way text messaging affects language skills is that it leads to the downfall of communication. It aids the lack of intellect and flow of logic that humans possess when communicating with another human being. When I was in a McDonalds couple of days ago, I observed something that disturbed me; it also annoyed me a bit and this had to do with communication skills and texting. A table in a corner across from when I and friend were seated, there were three young people, ages that I can guess to be around 16. They each ordered drinks and French fries and they all had cell phones held in their hands. Couples had ear buds in their ears and probably listening to music that they enjoyed. They shake back and forth around in their seats to the beat when they were listening to their music and texting on their mobile phones. Every couple of seconds, one of them would eat fries and slurp his drink and they were all texting.

They were seemingly texting each other from the snickering laugh and pokes I observed yet they were all sitting right there at the same table. The thing that irritated me the most was that there was literally no verbal conversation other than a casual grunt. Their communication was done on their cell phone with no face to face conversation with their friends who were sitting next to each other.

Are we losing our ability to truly communicate or, use voices? When you are sitting at the same same table why weren’t you talking? Texting is not talking. Most teenagers in this society don’t talk to other people face to face. There is no verbal communication. It is hard to make sense of the language because there is no tone, no expression, no feeling, no body language and it is easy to text about some issues rather than talk face to face. It is also easy to apprehend into a conversation which is not really there and make wrong conclusions, without fully understanding what is being communicated. I know people who not only freak out about having to give a public speech, but who worry about having a face-to-face conversation. It’s a bit ridiculous.

Texting lingo has already spread to speech, social networking sites and other areas of writing. Shorthand phrases such as LOL and OMG first appeared in messaging forums and transferred smoothly into text lingo. The same thing is happening in reverse. This is not a complication when you’re texting or emailing your friends, but young people don’t understand that you can’t write LOL into an email to your boss. As American University linguistics professor Naomi Baron states, “So much of American society has become sloppy or laissez faire about the mechanics of writing” (Hauck). I agree with her. Check any popular forum and see for yourself what the bloodbath of spelling and grammar looks like. So when we are not forced to write out words, the rules of our language aren’t enforced.

Recent research seems to support that texting has an adverse impact on people’s linguistic ability. Drew Cingle and S. Shyam Sundar conducted research at Penn State University. They published their research in the professional journal, New Media and Society. Both authors argued that the student’s who write in techspeak used shorthand phrases, homophones, essential and nonessential letters to compose a text message. They thought that writing in techspeak would prevent person’s ability to go from techspeak to normal rules of grammar. They did research to find if text messaging affected student’s grammar skills. Based on their data from over 500 students from middle school, they concluded “there is evidence of a decline in grammar scores.” Cingle gives reader personal example from his two younger nieces. He indicates that their text messages were “incomprehensible and that he had ask them what they were trying to get out of that message. “The message was incomprehensible because the use of shortcuts,” he said (Cingle & Sundar).

Joan Lee did another study to find the impact of texting on language skills. She conducted her study for her master’s thesis in linguistics. Based on her data, her results proved that the students who texted more were less open to new terminology. Her results also proved that students who read media were more open to expanding their vocabulary. “Our assumption about texting is that it encourages unconstrained language,” Lee argues, “but the study found this to be a myth.” Lee argues that reading print media exposes people to variety and creativity in language that is not found in text messaging used among youth (Lee).

I think person’s vocabulary expands upon first using communication device due to some unique words used in texting. However, the terminology size levels off as the person knows most of the words that are unique to texting. After that, the person will use same group of vocabulary over and over again.

Lastly, teenagers in this society don’t know exactly what listening is. They may look like they are listening, but things are going in one ear and right out the other. College students who frequently text message during class have difficulty staying attentive to classroom lectures and consequently are at risk of having poor results, according to a study by Fan-Yi Flora Wei, and his two colleagues Ken Wang and Michael Klaussner. They published their study in the journal Communication Education. They concluded that most college students believe they are capable of performing multitasking behaviors, such as texting during their classroom learning, but research does not support that proposition (Wei).

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Do I think text messaging is a bad thing? No, of course not, it is a good thing and certainly has a place in today’s computer age society in a many different ways, it can even help to keep us safe and protect us but when do not use it properly, as it was meant to be used, it depletes our writing skills, cripples our communication skills, and has a negative impact on the other language skills as well. When we let computer age technology, texting become our obsession and allow it to take over our life to such an extent that we lose all our other living and language skills it becomes as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands.


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