Is Texting Lingo Destroying the English Language?

By Stephanie Parkinson

February 6, 2013 Updated Feb 6, 2013 at 7:37 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – IDK, OMG, TTYL; it's all lingo being used to communicate quickly via cell phone.

But is texting helping or hurting us? It depends who you ask, and you may be surprised at who thinks texting is helping us and who thinks it could be starting to hurt the way we communicate.

"Nothing can destroy the English language, Vikings couldn't destroy the English language,” said Damian Fleming, IPFW English Professor. "It (texting) is a written form of communication, but it borrows a lot from the spoken form of communication and it's somewhere in-between in a way where we haven't really had a form of language like this before."

Fleming says a lot of people ask him if texting is hurting the English language.

"A lot of what surprises and shocks and sometimes horrifies people, like the shortening of things, has always existed in English, that in medieval manuscripts everything was abbreviated to save time,” said Fleming.

Fleming isn't disappointed with how texting has developed. In fact, he teaches it. He dedicates part of his curriculum to discussing texting.

"Our students now are reading more than students have, I don't know, in any time. They're reading for hours and hours and hours every day. Even if it's not reading Shakespeare, but they're reading,” said Fleming. "The more you text, and the more abbreviations you use, the more likely you are to realize the distinction between texting and formal writing."

Damian may have some good points but some online job applications have a local employer concerned that 'texting' lingo is crossing over into the professional world.

"We're seeing more and more people using, I guess you could call what you would see on a cell phone so no capital letters, no punctuation, lots of abbreviations and so forth,” said Jeff McDonald, Sweetwater Sound, Human Resources.

McDonald sees hundreds of applications come through Sweetwater Sound. Where he sees texting language the most is on applications for their entry level positions, jobs often sought by the younger population. Jeff says out of that job sector 30 percent of the applications will come through with some sort of this newly developed lingo.

"You're giving us an application for a professional job in a totally different language and it gives pause to say, I wonder if they can do it the other way around,” said McDonald.

This shorthand is frustrating McDonald on applications but Flemming says for those who text regularly it can make users smarter.

"In some ways, the abbreviations make the reading more complicated than say just like reading a news story online, something written to be comprehended quickly. There is a complexity to it,” said Fleming.

Although McDonald doesn't condone this in a professional environment, and although Flemming thinks it's making our brains work harder you'd be surprised to know…

“I have a strict no texting policy during any of my classes,” said Fleming.

"Even here internally if I'm just sending a casual e-mail to somebody I'll put LOL or something on the end of it so sure, we totally get it, we're a technology company,” said McDonald.




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