Txt lnguge 8nt so bad

Do u fnd ths hrd 2 undrstnd?

I find it pretty hard to decipher, but I bet people who read and write in text language all the time don’t.

Just like New Zealanders ending sentences with ‘aye’, or Americans spelling ‘cosy’ with a Z, text language is just another evolution of English that marks people as part of a community.

And there are a number of communities on social media platforms who talk in text language all the time – they use numbers, leave off consonants and drop vowels all together.

According to University of Lausanne’s Professor of English and Linguistics Peter Trudgill (and me), there isn’t anything inherently wrong with TXT talk; language evolves and changes all the time.

“The only languages that don’t change are ones that nobody uses any more, like Latin”, he wrote in his essay for Language Myths.

What would speakers of ye Olde English think of even the most formal of modern prose? They’d probably find it a mess of lazy sentence structure and misused words. Even just five hundred years ago, English speakers pronounced the k in knee; nice meant neat and precise; and awful described something awe inspiring.

It follows then that linguistic ‘correctness’ is constructed by the community speaking it.

And that’s really the sticky point isn’t it? Text language isn’t inherently bad. Used in a public forum like Facebook or Twitter, it will, in the eyes of your reader, place you firmly within a community.

If you identify with or want to talk to communities who use text language, then go ahead and swamp your social media with it. Tell your pedantic teachers, parents and colleagues that this is your community’s written dialect; using it doesn’t make you stupid or lazy. Its ur rite!!! 😉 lol

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

3 Comments

  1. Brian Reply

    I tend to agree – to a point. One of the issues with txt language is the lack of consistency, both within a defined community and between them. If there is that internal consistency, then txt language would be akin to visual dialect. Without it, it would be like learning a new dialect whenever reading anything written by someone new.

    If you're going to use txt language when engaging with your community, I'd advise sticking to the commonly used (and easily recognised) spellings and avoid inventing your own.

  2. Helen Steemson Reply

    Hey Brian,

    Thanks for your response – I totally agree with you. Like any newly forming dialect, words, phrases and spellings are adopted, amended and abandoned regularly.

    Meanings of words and phrases are a kind of social contract – they're modified and negotiated in billions of conversations all over the world. I suspect if the use of text language continues grow, it will become more and more consistent as speakers (writers) abandon the less useful forms, and align themselves with their peers.

    In the meantime, like you say, using the commonly accepted forms of text language means you'll be understood by more of the text-speak community. It also has the added benefit of being still fairly accessible to other English speakers.

    Cheers for reading!

    Helen

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