text-speakI recently read an interesting blog about bad Grammar, and how Social Media is partly to blame. This subject intrigued me, as I’ve recently been reading through some CV’s and I was shocked at the mistakes people had made (in a formal document for a potential employee). ‘allot’ was often put as one word, ‘i’ not capitalised, and sentences without comma’s. And I know I am not the best person to lecture people about Basic English, but isn’t it worrying to think about what will become of our English language in 5 – 10 years time?

With Twitter only allowing 140 characters, and text messages (before contract phones), limiting you to 160, it isn’t surprising that words are being shortened, with no punctuation, and slang words are commonly used. Even large companies are using text language in their advertising, as a way to target young people!

Now we can all turn and blame Social Media, but is it a problem far greater than this? Could it be partly the schools fault? After reading Hanna Torp’s discussion over some research carried out, I agree that schools do not seem to have moved with the times and embraced new kinds of media, which their students are already using. Teachers need to use these mediums themselves, to show students their proper use, and how they could be used more effectively.

How can students learn that the Internet is not just a playground where you can use teenager speech, but that it’s by far the most important forum of professional communication for almost every field, if their school teachers keep understating the Internet?

But not everyone sees “txt spk” as a bad thing, and instead, they think it “shows a clever manipulation of the English language” as it is an “ingenious and playful tangle of acronyms and abbreviations”.

I personally don’t agree with these comments, but think that this ‘SMS Language’ has a time and a place, to which at certain points, people don’t know where to draw the line.

So, should we all just accept that our language is evolving? As after all, we don’t all talk in Latin or speak like Shakespeare anymore, so could this just be the next stage for Modern English?

Thanks for reading. Elizabeth Harmon.

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3 thoughts on “Is Social Media to Blame for Bad Grammar?

  1. Good post! You raise an interesting question about integrating educators with new media to improve grammar skills.

    Yes, various facets of new media, such as Twitter and text messages, can certainly be attributed to the decline of literacy skills. Even today my Literature professor commented on how awful the grammar, spelling, and punctuation was on class papers.

    A new language has definitely evolved from the Internet. You referred to it as “txt spk.” It functions with extreme brevity, which makes it ideal for web communication.

    I do agree that educators should integrate themselves more with social media to narrow the generation gap a bit. However, I don’t belive educating students on grammatical accuracy within new media boundries is a logical approach. The “txt spk” language has cemented its status as proper grammar for the Internet, for better or worse. It is embedded within practically everyone who frequents the web. It is imporatnt to understand that the forum in which a person presently exists dictates the “language” suitable for communication.

    I posted an article today that you may find interesting:
    http://bravenewmediablog.com/2010/03/08/stoopid-is-as-stoopid-does/

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is an interesting topic, which we can only assume the answers. I agree that people should not be told to use correct grammer and spellings online, as this “txt langauge” is clearly the easiest way to communicate via the Internet, but I find it scarey that this seems to be spreading to other offline communications as well.

  2. An interesting read. Despite being formalised, the English Language has never remained the same. It’s organic, and constantly evolving. New words are created everyday, meanings change and words from foreign languages and the process of globalisation are incorporated into the English language. If you compare the works of William Shakespeare to literature written today you can see a huge difference’s not only in the words used but also in the way sentences are structured. Social media is one of many external factors which is changing language on a constant basis. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I don’t think it’s something which anybody can do anything about. The important issue with the evolution of language today is that it is happening at such a speed that it may leave people behind as the English language splits into a number of seperate dialects.

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