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Saturday, 7 March 2009

New Study texting helps improve literacy

Study texting helps improveThe age old conflict over the English language, with so many grammar bores stating categorically that texting and the like are causing declining standards in literacy and the English language is dying. Of course, the fact that the English language is an ever-evolving beast doesn’t factor into their heads, but hey. These are the same people who say that swearing shows you have a smaller vocabulary and lower intelligence, usually just before I launch into a tirade of abuse that shows them precisely how big my vocabulary is, and how many ways I have of expressing my dislike for them…

However, if a new study quoted by The Register is to be believed, the grammar bores of the world may very soon have to shut up, because it’s now been suggested that texting, and using abbreviations like LOL, OMG, and STFU (one for the grammar bores, right there) actually help increase kids’ literacy.

Now, granted, it was only a small study, but the fact is, it found that of the kids studied, the ones who text regularly had a better reading ability, a larger vocabulary and more phonological (I love that word) awareness, than those who didn’t. Of course, it might just be that they’re brighter kids all round, and the thickos stick to shorter words they know, but one never can tell.

Take me personally, for example. I use abbreviations all the time, if I’m texting or on MSN. Just ask my mate Diana, I’ve had to explain some of the stupid shortcuts I’ve come out with in the past. And that’s because, despite being a wordsmith, I’m inherently lazy. And it really, really bugs me when people go on these ‘crusades against txt spk’, filled with some kind of self-righteous vim and vigour.

Just stop it. Please. What exactly is wrong with using lol to show you find something funny? It’s quite considerably easier than typing ‘oh, I am laughing most heartily, huzzah‘, even if you’re using a QWERTY phone like the Palm Pre, or Nokia N97. It saves time, and, ooh, it really annoys grammar bores!

Besides, it’s insulting, not just to me, but to kids using txt spk, to suggest they can’t use any other form of expression. Just because someone types lol, doesn’t mean they can’t type the long-drawn out version, it just means they made a conscious choice not to. And besides, considering how these people say we have to protect the children as they’re our future in one breath, and then in the next, say exams are getting easier and that they’re all illiterate morons, I think we can safely disregard their opinion.

I say we set them a challenge. Get a full touchscreen phone like the Nokia 5800, or even a traditionally keypadded-up phone like the C905, and try typing out ‘oh yes, most humorous, your witticism has made me fall over to the ground laughing until my bottom has fallen off‘.


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