“Fingered Speech”

While many think that texting and other new forms of communication are eating away at the English language, John McWhorter disagrees, especially with texting. Many think that “text talk” which would include abbreviations, short hand, and such are teaching people how NOT to spell. They think that “text talk” is leaking into other forms of communication like resumes and papers for school – places where it should never appear.

However, in a blog post by Jessica Gross on TEDTalks, McWhorter says that texting is “redefining the way we communicate with each other – for the better.” McWhorter says that people should think of texting as “fingered speech.” According to McWhorter, thinking of it as speech makes the grammatical errors seem miniscule and unimportant. He goes on to discuss how “text talk” has evolved our language as a whole. For example, he talks about “lol.” When it originally started circulating it simply meant “laugh out loud.” Now though, McWhorter says that it has evolved to show “empathy and accommodation.” Other examples are mentioned in the article as well and if you have time to watch the video, I would recommend it because his viewpoint is really interesting.

While I can see the merit in “text talk,” I still feel that boundaries need to be drawn as to where it can be used and where it cannot be used. I don’t think abbreviations should be found in resumes, school papers or the like. If you want to talk to your friends like that, that’s fine. However, I personally think that “text talk” has taught bad grammar and misspellings that are hard to correct. I text how I talk – grammatically correct. I think of it as practice for when I write other things. I think that some people get into the habit and continue to do it outside of texting.



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