Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:46 PM EDT2013-05-23 02:46:22 GMT
A 20+ year career with the Alexander City Police Department ended abruptly, on the wrong side of the courtroom, for Corporal Michael Patrick Ford. Ford was originally charged with 3 counts of child sexMore >>
A 20+ year career with the Alexander City Police Department ended abruptly, on the wrong side of the courtroom, for Corporal Michael Patrick Ford. A second officer, Lt. Randy Walters, was arrested but remains on the job. More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:38:14 GMT
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Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:32 PM EDT2013-05-23 01:32:31 GMT
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The Boy Scouts of America will convene a two-day meeting of 1,400 local leaders to consider changing its long-standing ban openly gay boys belonging to the scouting movement.More >>
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By Alan Mozes HealthDay Reporter
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- As
mobile messaging has taken off, so has an abbreviated form of
text-specific jargon, a kind of linguistic shorthand that helps speed up
the texting to and fro.
But a new study warns that the widespread adoption of texting among so-called tweens could be undermining their grammar skills.
The concern stems from the results of
standardized language testing and surveys conducted among more than 200
middle school students living in central Pennsylvania.
The more a young teen embraced shorthand while texting, the poorer their use of proper English in a non-texting context.
"I should first point out that this is
correlational, not causal," stressed study co-author S. Shyam Sundar,
co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania
State University. "That means that while we see an association between
texting and grammar problems among teens, we cannot say that one is
actually causing the other."
"However, it is clear that compared to those
who text very little, those middle schoolers who texted a lot did much
more poorly in terms of their offline grammar skills," Sundar said.
"[This] suggests that kids who are using a lot of word adaptations while
texting -- saying 'gr8,' for example, instead of 'great' -- are unable
to switch sufficiently back to proper grammar and spelling when not
The study recently appeared online in the journal New Media & Society.
"Tech-speak" involves the omission of
non-essential letters and the use of modern-day homophones -- shorter
words or character sound-alikes.
Examples include replacing the word "your"
with "ur" or using the figure "2" for the word "to." The lingo also uses
wholesale abbreviations and acronyms, such as the immensely popular
shorthand "LOL," used to convey "laughing out loud."
The research team assessed and polled a group of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14.
In addition to testing grammar skills, the
authors asked the teens to indicate the number of texts they send and
receive and to discuss their views on the importance of texting in
general. Participants also specified exactly how many tech-speak
adaptations they used or received over the course of their last three
The more a tween used word shortcuts while texting -- both sending and receiving -- the worse their overall grammar performance.
No gender differences were found.
Slipshod sentence structure while texting --
such as dropping periods and capitalizations -- was not linked to making
similar grammatical mistakes offline, the researchers observed.
The authors suggest that teens may want to
imitate their peers, picking up the shortcuts friends and family members
already use and, in turn, serving as a role model for their friends to
do the same.
"They're getting used to this kind of
tech-speak because they are imitating, which is common in this peer
group," Sundar explained. "The kids who received word adaptations in
their texting were then likely to use those contractions in their own
texting, which, in turn, predicted their own grammar performance."
"What parents can do is try to inculcate the
correct use of grammar in their own text messages to their children,
which can be hard to do, as mobile communication has its own rhythm
where speed is more important than accuracy," he said. "But if you send
your kid a text message with these kinds of compromises of grammar, the
chances are they will imitate that and become unable to switch back to
"Parents can also try to impart to their kids
the difference between this kind of shorthand language and the
expectations of the school system," Sundar added. "These are rules of
grammar that are in the book, and while there is no saying how language
will evolve, while they're in school these rules are not really
negotiable. So it's important they learn proper grammar."
Sam Gosling, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, said the findings made sense.
"As the authors note, the causal link between
texting and grammar can't be established in this study because it could
be that tweens with poorer grammar skills are already using more
adaptations in their texts," he said. "However, I would not be at all
surprised if texting did influence grammar skills."
"[But] it's important to remember," Gosling
added, "that language is always changing and always has been, driven in
part by developments in technology and cultural changes society at
"Just as the unnecessary 'u' in British
spellings of words like 'behaviour' was dropped in American usage ...
it's quite likely that some of these texting conventions will eventually
filter through to everyday language too," Gosling said. "The
pervasiveness of social technologies like phones and Facebook -- and the
rapid transfer of new conventions that they permit -- means the rate of
change is increasing."