Our View: Txtspk-ing to the wrong audience
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 13:02
They have called us “Generation Y,” “The Millennials,” “Gen Next” and newly suggested, “Gen Text.”
With 140 character tweets and short texts on phones becoming the standard, it is clear the way that words are used has changed. In some cases we avoid words altogether. As our communication is becoming far more visual, we need far less words.
Look to our social media programs like Instagram or new wordless communications like Snapchat. These typify a picture being worth a thousand words.
Besides just doing away with words there is also a rumored new language “Txtspk.” Txtspk is the accumulation of all of the abbreviations, slang, new words and emoticons we use daily. Although this new language originated from text messages, txtspk is now being used in all venues.
But is it appropriate for all communication settings?
Communication has become short, efficient and suffers from its own form of ADHD.
Many individuals fear that this new language has dilapidated this generation’s grammar. Multiple studies have looked into the relationship between this new language and it’s negative effect on English grammar skills.
Students are trained for 13 years to be proficient in the basic principles of spelling, noun and adverb use, sentence structure and comma splicing.
The power in grammatical precision might best be illustrated by the comma that can save lives.
“Let’s eat grandma!” reads demonic and in poor taste, literally. Compared to, “Let’s eat, grandma!” When the proper comma is placed, the sentence immediately transforms from a Saw film into the Andy Griffith show.
But are grammar skills really this important?
Many students have seen the forward that claimed to be the conclusion of research from Cambridge University, “it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”
Although the research never actually took place at Cambridge University; there is something to be said about the human brain’s ability to comprehend grammatical inaccuracies. With this information we can see a compelling argument that content can still be expressed, even without perfect grammar.
It seems the best solution for our now bilingual, Gen Text, is to understand context and audience. There is no need to throw away the incredibly useful communication style of txtspk, and likewise need to have a firm foundation in proper grammatical creativeness. The ability to switch in-between these two forms of communication will prove incredibly useful in the workplace.
On twitter, sending a text to a friend or writing personal notes in class it is proper to use txtspk. However, when sending emails to teachers or other professionals, writing papers for class or preparing a resumé for a job interview, grammar must be stressed.
With this in mind, go eat with your grandma, just don’t forget to use proper English when writing about it on Facebook.
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.