Talking texting
March 1st, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Talking texting

by Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) Texting is the 21st Century version of passing notes.  And as someone who spent his school years passing notes, I think of how much paper I could’ve saved (and privacy maintained) if we had all carried smart phones in the 90s.

But while poring over some atrocious love letters I once exchanged, I noticed that we spelled out words like “hilarious” and our promises to love each other forever (or until senior year, whichever came first).  And it struck me that something’s been lost in the modern, text-speak expressions of amour.  For example, LOL and ICFILWU don’t seem to carry the same weight as “you always make me laugh” or “I could fall in love with you.”

Travis Ruiz, a reporter from our Texas affiliate KVII, says students are increasingly using bad grammar on purpose.  Why bother to spell something out if you can get your point across more quickly, even if that means horrifying your English teacher?  The dictionary definition of expediency is something quick, practical (assuming you can decipher it), and not necessarily correct – which describes the culture of texting perfectly.

And some argue it’s nothing to be worried about:  Texting, Facebooking, tweeting, and the thrashing they give spelling and clear thought are all just part of the evolution of the language.

But don’t tell that to grammarians of the old school.  At Savannah State University, I recently spoke with a retired professor who was proud of his classical education.  He memorized his introductions, could effortlessly quote Tennyson and Browning (both Brownings) - and winced when he thought of how social media was affecting modern students’ ability to articulate sentences.

But “they just don’t really care,” according to Kenedy Brandon, a 15-year-old high school student in Texas.  “That’s the way they want to talk.”  And her AP English teacher actually doesn’t have a problem with it – as long as students know better and apply that knowledge in class.  “If they have the ability to switch from the ‘text-ese’ form of language into proper grammar, I think that’s pretty smart,” says Tammi Fritz.

And if they don’t?  Well, the Tower of Babel never did get built.

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Filed under: Extracurricular • Technology
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Randy

    One obvious reason for using acronyms that was overlooked, is that tweets and text messages have a length limit. You have to abbreviate to make it fit. Sometimes you actually have to think harder to make it more concise.

    March 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  2. Uniema

    Zomg dis is sooo kool! WTH u guys, get wit da tim3s!

    March 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • helomoto12354

      They taught you grammar for a reason. USE IT!!

      March 14, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  3. Michelle

    My biggest peeve is people who misuse 'your' instead of the proper 'you're'. Also, I know people who use an apostrophe every time a word ends with 's', e.g., "Ohio high schooler's head back" or "favorite teacher's". It drive's me bonker's!! Ha ha. Just wanted to emphasize how much it bugs me. Also, I am so sick of the use of 'LOL', I want to TMC (toss my cookies) when I see it. One of the newest fun abbrevs is 'SMH' (smack my head) as in response to something stupid we've done or something someone else did.

    March 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Greg

      I couldn't agree with you more. Those both kill me. Also, when people don't know how to use there, their and they're, but I have to say adding 's is what irks me the most.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • David in Tampa

      Amazing what causes people pain. Giggle

      March 8, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  4. Orangeman

    I believe ngaamc is correct. Correct grammar and syntax ,while poo-pooed by many, are there for good reasons. They transmit thought ,ideas,and opinions in the most precise way and make it easier to get our thoughts across to other people.

    How do you react when engaging a person in the business or professional world and they don't speak or write properly? Does that give you more or less confidence in their abilities.

    March 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Orangeman


      March 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. ngaamc

    That is sometimes because of 140-character limit of Twitter? I respect someone who use proper grammar, proper English as a foreigner.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • bob

      That's because you can't understand people if they speak in slang.

      March 5, 2012 at 2:05 am |
      • helomoto12354

        Slang has turned from cool to retarded. People cram whole essay topics in that 140 box. It's ridiculous.

        March 14, 2012 at 12:19 am |