Humphrys, David. “I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language.” The Daily Mail. 24 Sept. 2007. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.
In his article I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language, David Humphrys rants about the how texting is “pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary.” He starts off by talking about the recent changes made to his beloved Oxford English Dictionary as part of the latest revision, namely removing the hyphen from some 16,000 words. This, he deems, is nothing more than the OED falling victim to fashion to the SMS vandals who defend their practice through ridiculing non-adapters, pointing out it saves money, and arguing that language changes. Humphrys argues we must not give in to this plague of emotions, abbreviations, and ambiguity and urges influential authoritative references such as the OED to do the same; lest our language be taken over by text-speak the same way email conquered the practice of writing letters.
Myhra, John. “Negative Effects Of Texting In The Classroom.” Tech Nation. WikiDot, 3 Dec. 2010. Web. 5 Mar. 2014.
It is very clear from Negative Effects Of Texting In The Classroom that John Myhra is not a fan of texting. His main gripe is the effect that today’s over-use of texting has had on students’ writing; making them unable to separate formal and informal english. He says the mistakes caused by texting are often unintentional — lack of critical analysis and shorter sentences to name a few — but overall causes punctuation to suffer, capital letters to shrink, and spelling to be squashed. While Myhra agrees with proponents of texting who say that it increases the amount of writing students are doing, he argues that it is writing of little to no depth filled with terrible grammar and countless abbreviations.
Trubek, Anne. “Txting 2 Lrn.” Instructor 121.5 (2012): 49-51. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
In her educational pamphlet Txting 2 Lrn, Anne Trubek discusses the benefits of texting related to education and how they can be embraced in the classroom. She starts by stating that kids today spend a lot of time texting (girls more than boys), sending an average of about 3,400 texts per month. Because of this, texting has revolutionized the way kids today communicate, and in the eyes of many, is decreasing the language skills of our young generation. Trubek adamantly points out that such views are opinion and do not listen to the countless studies show that texting increase literacy and improve spelling. She then goes on to list the several different texting facts such as: texting creates strong readers and writers, texting improves phonology, text language has historical ties, and texting does not distract students. To close, Trubek suggests various ways for teachers to embrace this new communication technology in the classroom such as: getting immediate feedback, teaching note taking shorthand, or studying historical characters by making them communicate through this new medium.
Zurhellen, Sarah. ““A Misnomer of Sizeable Proportions”: SMS and Oral Tradition.” Oral Tradition 26.2 (2011). Project MUSE. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
In “A Misnomer of Sizeable Proportions”: SMS and Oral Tradition, Sarah Zurhellen first starts by discussing how texting as a medium of communication is encoring literary schools, bridging the gap between oral and written cultures. She then dives into the more technical side of the functional yet symbolic text-language, referencing the six non-standard language developments of texting and the 3 social maxims. After giving the reader a brief background of SMS, she gets back to the relationship between texting and oral communication writing: “text messaging utilizes components of oral thought, or patterns of thinking related to orality, rather than conversation per se”. To close, Zurhellen considers the intimacy of texting compared to online chat and how learning to text is more intuitive than analytical.
Turner, Kristen Hawley. “Flipping the Switch: Code-Switching from Text Speak to Standard English.” The English Journal , Vol. 98, No. 5 (May, 2009) , pp. 60-65.
Kristen Hawley Turner, the assistant professor of English education at Fordham University and self admitted immigrant to the online world, writes about her experience as a teacher while citing several other sources. In her piece Flipping the Switch: Code-Switching from Text Speak to Standard English, writes that while teens embrace the new digital technologies, a debate still rages over whether people should be worried about the effects of this new medium on our language. She suggests that regardless of the effect, educators should embrace the new language and help students become aware of the difference between text speak and formal language. This should be accomplished through “Flip the Switch” lessons which aim to help them understand the need to use a different language in digital settings than at school. Turner ends by stressing that awareness is the key as digital writing will be more authentic to students who have grown up with it.
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There Is Nothing To Fear
Many people believe that texting is negatively effecting our language, even going so far as to say, “it is destroying our great language with the ferocity of Genghis Khan” (Sutherland). This is nothing new, as the introduction of any new technology has historically caused much fear and excitement, though because of texting’s rapid rise, it is stirring up more emotions then any before. Despite the general fear of texting, David Crystal argues that the distinct orthography used by texters will have no noticeable effect on our language as a whole. Abbreviations, initializing words, and substituting single characters for words, all practices that are commonly thought to have originated through texting, have been used as early as the 1600s. Crystal even shows that, besides not ruining our language, texting is encouraging people to write; inspiring new genres of novels and poems communicated 100% through text messaging. Ultimately, while many people feel passionately one way or another about texting, it is simply part of the latest display of our linguistic creativity or “language in evolution” as Crystal puts it (Crystal 753).
Having been written in 2008, David Crystal’s article is almost completely irrelevant today due to the blindingly quick pace at which technology is developing. This doesn’t make it obsolete though, as it does provide the reader with the opportunity to glimpse what texting was like just 5 whole years ago. As someone who didn’t get their first cellphone (a flip-to-open tracfone) until 2010, I don’t really have a historical perspective on how far texting has advanced in such a short time. I came into the world of texting and took pretty much everything I saw for granted; after all I hadn’t grown up with some other form of communication and I hadn’t experienced any other form of texting.
The texting scene that Crystal describes is a unique time period which allowed texters to create conventions without much influence from other communication mediums. His article predates the release of the first Apple iPhone, which acts as a dividing line between when texting was its own unique form of communication and when it became mixed up with email, Facebook, Viber, and the other various channels of communication available on modern smartphones. The period from 2004-2008 which 2b or Not 2b primarily focuses on was a time when texting was a distinctive form of written communication isolated by its medium. Because of texting’s technological isolation before cellphones got ‘smart’, texters weren’t as tempted to use it in the same way they did other communication devices. Instead, they innovated: pulling conventions and practices from some previous technologies (such as chatrooms) while innovating and creating others.
The Old Guard
When this article was written, it was directed (whether or not it was intentional) at a very specific group of people. David Crystal, himself an older person, will naturally write articles that share a similar view as other older people who live in the United Kingdom. This is because other people around his age will have experienced many of the same things that he did. Not all older people in the UK will share his positive view of texting, so by adamantly taking he further decreases the size of the group of people who will agree with what he says. On top of all of this, because Crystal’s article is published in the UK daily newspaper The Guardian, his article will mainly be read by subscribers of the paper and those who happen to buy a copy that day (though it is also available online).
David Crystal’s purpose for writing the article“2b or Not 2b? is to educate people his age who might have a negative view of texting on it’s advantages. He might have been inspired to write it due to a personal event in his own life, such as a conversation with one of his own friends on the subject, or he might have noticed much public confusion on the subject. Though his article is written to educate, he educates you so much on how texting is a good thing it also becomes a persuasive piece. Crystal repeatedly mentions the “doom laden prophecies [which] have been made about the supposed linguistic evils unleashed by texting” (Crystal 752). Every time he does, he always follows it with something that counteracts it such as “[texting’s] creative potential has been virtually ignored” (752) or by bringing up the fact that whenever a new piece of technology is introduced this is the general response (745).
Throughout the article, Crystal utilizes logos centered-rhetoric to convince you of his opinion. He cites studies, surveys, figures, and other number-based facts quite regularly. This allows him to more effectively convince the reader of his opinion. By mainly approaching the issue from a logical perspective, Crystal is able to speak directly to readers’ brains. This leaves emotions out of the picture, a good thing since most peoples’ emotional reaction when it come to texting is one of fear (Crystal 745).
To back up his stance, David Crystal constantly uses logical arguments. He often uses facts to provide a historical perspective on the issue; calming people’s fears by letting them know that texting isn’t a completely new thing to be afraid of, but just another step in our development of communication technology. He also points out the fact that people have been abbreviating or initializing words, something that many associate with texting, for the past few centuries at least.
Since he is trying to educate his reader while also persuading them that his position is correct, Crystal is very subjective, having a clear bias while still being analytical. He draws on many studies, but none was more effective then the one he uses right near the end from a team at Coventry University): ”The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary.” (Crystal 752). He reasons kids must have a firm grasp of the English language before they can begin experimenting with abbreviating words. This is a good example of how Crystal uses stats, facts, and logical arguments all together to prove a point.
Get It In Print
Whether it was a conscious decision or not, by publishing his article 2b or Not 2b in a newspaper, David Crystal was putting his work where it was most likely to reach the largest percentage of its intended audience. Newspapers may be becoming less popular due to the rise of the internet, but older people still remain loyal subscribers and rely on them for much of their news, entertainment, and other information. Since Crystal is speaking mainly to an older audience, publishing his article in an older form of communication makes it seem more trustworthy to them.
If Crystal had opted to go a more modern route of distributing his article, say a blog or even through an ironic series of text messages, he would be putting his work in front of completely the wrong set of eyes: those of the younger generation. This would be a waste of a perfectly good argument; the younger generation does not believe that texting is ruining our language because they have grown up with it and not know any other way of life.
Tumbling Through Creation
While writing this essay I struggled a bit with flushing out my ideas and opinions on Crystal’s article. I am a natural minimalist when it comes to writing (something that is often appreciated on the internet), so filling out seven sections all describing the same newspaper article was definitely challenging. Finding the multimedia to go along with each section was far easier. I chose mostly images because I thought they could convey what I wanted to say without taking the reader away to different page for a hyperlink or video.
Creating my Tumblr blog was also an easy process, mainly because of how simple Tumblr makes it. Upon first creating your blog your page is set to the default theme, but with just a couple of clicks you can quickly access Tumblr’s vast library of eye-catching themes that other users have created. If I had used another blogging service instead, say Google’s Blogger, it would have taken considerably longer to achieve results of similar quality. Tumblr also has a larger audience and a better system for following, liking, and interacting, making it more suited for my needs.
Crystal, David. “2b or Not 2b”. Everyone’s an Author: With Readings. Eds. Andrea Lunsford et al. New York: Norton, 2013. 745-754. Print.
“Genghis Khan In Armor”. Examiner. Web. February 24, 2014.
“Grandpa On Laptop, Kid Reading Newspaper” Corposano. Web. February 24, 2014.
julietfafard. “Forever Alone Text Conversation”. We Heart It. Web. February 24, 2014.
“LG220C Prepaid Cell Phone”. LG220C.COM. Web. February 24, 2014.
“Man Reading The Guardian”. The Guardian. January 9, 2014. Web. February 24, 2014.
Sutherland, John. “Cn u txt?”. The Guardian. November 10, 2002. Web. February 24, 2014.
Live Football Game
If I were to write a post which would try to appeal to an audience that was watching a live football game, the first thing I would want to do is keep the post as short as possible. People who are watching a football game are not likely to want to gave their attention away from the game for too long unless it is a blowout. My post(s) would be polls which related to the game or interesting stats which pertained to the game at hand. Locker room interviews, pictures from during the game, and a poll on which player was the most valuable player of the game are all topics I would post about to get there attention.
Visitors of a Major Art Museum:
Pictures, drawings, and other types of art would all be prominent in my posts. I would post art works or styles everyday along with a couple sentences or a paragraph explaining the historical context of the work of art. I might also post a guide to the museum itself; something that described its history as well as served as a guide.
Cinema Attendees for a Hollywood Movie:
My blog post(s) would be dedicated to trailers, Hollywood movie rumors, and other ‘inside scoops’ on what is happening in the movie world. If I could somehow know which movie the audience I was appealing to was seeing (say by their Google search history), I could more specifically target my posts to appeal to them.
Facebook (Social Media) Friends:
I would write a blog entry about something that had happened in my life. Since 99% of my Facebook friends have some personal connection to me, they are likely to click on a blog post if it is about something interesting that happened in my life. The event could be anything really (as long as it was remotely interesting) but the blog would be written from my personal point of view.
Readers of Academic Articles:
To appeal to a group of people who read Academic Articles I would want to pick a subject that I felt I could educate people about. This subject would need to be a current subject, such as a new scientific finding, a recently released study, or some other form of information that would be new to most people. The blog post would have to cite the sources I used, as well as be reviewed by an expert in the field to hold up to the level of quality the readers would expect.
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Checkout my Heartbreak Mashup! Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Many people believe that texting is negatively effecting our language. John Humphrey argues it is destroying our great language with the ferocity of Genghis Khan and John Sutherland of University College London says it covers up people’s grammatical mistakes, however, the fear which they are expressing is nothing new. The introduction of any new technology has historically caused much fear and excitement, though texting is stirring up more emotions then any before. This is partially because of just how quickly it has become present in out lives. While the idea of texting first began to be discussed in the mid 80’s, it would take five years after it was finally introduced in 1990 to be implemented. It didn’t really catch on at first, mainly because companies still had to figure out how to charge for it, but by 2005 there were over a trillion texts sent globally.
Despite the general fear of texting displayed by Sutherland and Humphrys, many now hold that the distinct orthography used by texters will not have a noticeable effect on our language as a whole. This is because that while many texters freely break grammatical rules, there’s still a large amount that adhere to the writing conventions (such as institutions) as it leaves less chance for the text to be misinterpreted. In fact, data collected showed that less than 20% of all texts contain abbreviated forms of any kind, going against the media’s labeling of texting as ‘novel’.
People are scared of what regular use of texting orthography will do to our writing style. Stories of texting destroying students’ ability to write, such as the one of the girl who handed in an essay so full of text lingo that it was illegible, are likely just urban legends born out of this fear. The ‘distinctive’ features of text orthography surprisingly predate the form of communication, finding their roots in the early chatrooms of the web. Even more surprisingly is the fact that rebuses, single letters, numerals, and symbols that represent a word or phrase, actually go back many years. People have been initializing the words they use for many years, such as IOU which originated all the way back in 1618. There was even a Dictionary of Abbreviations published in 1942 by Eric Partridge which contained many examples that looked as if they were taken from actual SMS messages. So while many people believe the abbreviations we see in texting are a completely new idea, the English language has always had abbreviated words whether everyone liked them or not.
By building on the many processes for shortening words used in the past, text messages can become almost puzzle-like, though few rarely do. Because of how un-standardized text messaging lingo is, each person has their own unique style, a digital fingerprint of sorts. Though the use of abbreviations was at first simply an innovative solution to the technological limitations of early cellphones, saving space and time isn’t the only reason why people text how they do anymore, people also love playing with the language.
Being fun and playful is one of the main characteristics of texting so to celebrate this, T-Mobile had the world’s first ever SMS poetry contest in the UK in 2007. While many dismiss the art as pointless due to its somewhat arbitrary 160 character limit, it is just as valid as haikus (with their 5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable format) except haikus have been around much longer. Because of how little space the author has to work with, each short line holds so much power. Those who weren’t happy with the short length but still wanted to stick with the medium began writing SMS novels where each text would be a chapter in a story. This art form has definitely taken off more in Asia then elsewhere, as in China they have created a mobile literature channel. Yoshi, a famous Japanese writer of this style, even allowed users to text back what they thought should happen next, taking advantage of the medium’s interactive nature.
As we see the texting lingo moving away from strictly phone based, the use of ‘texting abbreviations’ continues to be its defining feature. Though many predicted texting would lead to the demise children’s ability to read and write, recent studies have found that the more abbreviations a child used in their texts, the higher they scored on reading and vocabulary tests. This is thought to be because texters must have a good grasp of the language before they feel comfortable enough to use abbreviations. Ultimately, whether you love or hate texting, it is simply the latest way for people to be linguistically creative. It is contributing to the evolution of our language.
Example of Pathos:
This is a very emotional TedxYouth Talk about depression by someone who actually suffers from depression. His story is very moving and it is almost impossible not to be moved by what he says.
Example of Logos:
Al Gore talks about Global Climate change, a follow up to his Inconvenient Truth. Of course, if someone doesn’t believe in Climate Change (they exist), then this will not seem like a logical argument at all.
Example of Ethos:
This is an example of how ethos can be used to give a sense of expertise. Lord Christopher Monckton is not a scientist and yet he supposedly proves that scientists have been falsifying the data surrounding climate change and global warming.