Saturday, May 5, 2012

What's up with text talk?

So, I saw a post the other day that inspired me to talk today about 'text talk'. To clairfy what I mean, things like "u", "brb", "ttyl", etc are what I was 'text talk'.

A Short Rant and then Research
So one of the things that really bugs me is when people use text talk in everyday conversations. Think spoken conversations. "Brb" and "LOL" do not belong in spoken conversations, its silly in my mind. Sure everyone uses "LOL' these days to express laughter or amusement (or in awkward conversations, etc), but if you've gotten so bad as to actually says L-O-L in spoken conversations, well...that's a bit much.

Sadly, this is something our teachers actually have to talk to us about. They hate it when students use text talk on homework and in papers. Usually they count off points for it because they don't count it as proper English (and could it even be considered proper English?). Once again, using text talk on homework isn't professional or nice to read.

I understand using it when you're texting, after all, that's what its for. But, I (and a lot of people I know actually) don't use text talk even when we're texting. Maybe that's why me and some of my friends end up sending each other nine page texts? No joke, either.

So today I want to explore text talking and what it means for us today. Can it be considered proper english? Is it okay to use it when you're not texting? And as writers, are we allowed to us it at all?

Is text talk shaping how we speak?
Even without doing any research on that question, I'd like to say that I believe it is.

Having just done research...I have found few articles that support the ideas that "text talking is ruining English" or "people don't know how to speak proper English anymore". Most articles I found seemed to say that texting actually doesn't change the English language, it just changes the way we speak English.

I actually couldn't find a lot of articles on this. I thought I would find a ton, but in reality, there wasn't much out there. Most of it was "translating" text talk into proper English. Overall, the most useful one I found was Wikipedia (which I don't like to use even though studies say that its actually probably more reliable then other sites you can find).

Accordinbg to one study, words actually aren't avvreviated (Edit: abbreviated) as much as most people believe, both adults and children use text talk, use of text talk in written work by students isn't common, and that text talking doesn't actually mean low literacy in users. Some people feel that text talk is actually another language and that it doesn't actually affect our grammar. And Wikipedia also notes that while text talk is faster to type, its slower to read as our brains need to decode it.

Most people it seems to view that text talk is a corruption of English and that it is deteriorating our language. Some view that text talk is irritating and lazy behavior. Other studies according to Wikipedia say that men and women use text talk differently (although the numbers are slim). Women seem to use more proper english then men, while women's messages being longer and men's mostly being one sentences. (Although texting with my brother and other male friends proves this wrong. Some of my guy friends send longer text messages than I do.)

Getting to My Main Point
Is it okay for writers to use text talk? Certainly in texting, but other than that? On Inkpop and other writing sites, most writers on them seem to agree that as writers, we shouldn't use text talk. When we're on the forums or posting on Facebook, its generally a rule that if you want to be respected, you use proper English. Although using text talk such as "LOL" has crept up into the forums I'm on of late.

Anyways, in my opinion, its up to you. If you're comfortable using text talk in places other than texting, then go ahead. I just don't like to use it so I try to use it as little as possible. Personally, I don't think writers should be using text talk on the internet (I mean, if we were only limited to 160 characters per whatever, I'd totally understand, but since in most cases we're not...I don't understand).

Plus, we're writers. Aren't we suppose to be one of the English (or any language, I guess. I just refer to it in this post cause its my native tongue) language's biggest supporters of proper usage? I guess if you're having a fast paced, intense conversation on some site, I can see using text talk, but I'd still take the time to type everything.

But that's just my opinion. Like I said, its entirely up to you and what you're comfortable with. If you want to use text talk, don't let others tell you what to do. If you don't use it, that's fine too. In any case, I think it will be around for a while so we'll just have to get used to it. (I know the Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle (the first one is TTYL) is written entirely in text talk!)

Wikipedia- SMS Language Does Language Shape the Way We Think?

So what do you think?



  1. What's 'avvreviated'?

    I see text talk as evolution of language rather than an insult to the English language. Language evolves over time and is impacted by phenomenon, culture, religion and other factors. If we prevented this evolution from taking place, we'd all be talking Anglo-Saxon or something. It's the same as American English. A lot of Brits look down upon Americanisms and American English, calling it an insult to the English Language. In my opinion, it's just evolution.

    I use LOL in conversations. It just seems easier than laughing. Especially if you're in a library or something and need to be hush so are unable to laugh.

    1. Oh shoot. Thank you for pointing that out! I meant to say "abbreviated" but I read that over and didn't notice. I'll fix that right away.

      I don't really see it as an insult either and more like an evolution too, but I just don't really like it as much. Really? Hm, I don't see how American English could be considered an insult to English...but then, I'm American I'm probably not going to understand.

      That's a smart idea actually. And I can see how that'd be nice when in the library or a place like that.

    2. 1) spelling variations.
      2) pronunciation.

      I have had some very snotty English teachers. I don't see American English as an insult either. It happens with the French too concerning Canadian French. Spanish concerning Latin American Spanish. Portuguese concerning Brazillian Portuguese.

      Just your typical European stuff.

      I tend to use it one Facebook and Twitter more though. Especially Twitter because of the 140 character limit.

    3. Interesting. O.O I think I knew that some British people didn't like American, but I didn't realize that French, Spanish, and Portuguese had people who thought like that too. Interesting.

      I can understand Twitter, that makes sense since there is a very short amount of space.


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