Iain Graham writes:
Text language. Why do they do it? What an interesting question! Normally asked by people who have never ever sent a text, believing it to be the invention of the devil!! "Texters are vandals, doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours eight hundred years ago" asserted Jhn (sorry) John Humphrys of Radio Four fame writing in the Daily Mail. The new 'text language' has been blamed for many things including:
Erosion of children's ability to spell,
Abandonment of all punctuation and capitalization,
Worsening marks in examinations,
Children growing up into adults who are unable to to write 'proper' English, and
Eventually, the language as a whole inevitably declining.
The interesting point to make here is that there has never been any clear evidence to support any of the above fears. This reassurance comes from the work completed by David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He should know, he has written or edited over a hundred books on the subjects of language and writing.
"The end is nigh" people say to me on receipt of yet another communication by text from one of their offspring! Well I don't think it is! I speak as a typical fuddy duddy and Grumpy Old Man well set in his ways and a convert, yes, a convert to sending texts as a quick and largely non-intrusive way of communicating with a whole range of different people.
I will admit that I have not, and will not change my way of sending a text, (grammatically correct, accurately spelt and punctuated) but I have no objection to those that abbreviate for the sake of cost and use emoticons for illustration and fun! Yes, language should be fun!!
My point is this, language has to evolve and change otherwise it will die, and if the use of texts and the language used therein helps monosyllabic teenagers communicate better and more frequently, then so be it.
Communication methods are moving on at a very fast pace and in a few years time sending texts could seem as archaic a method of communication as the typewriter and the telegram do today. Whatever happens I'm fascinated by the subject and believe that with the common everyday use of texts we are seeing a demonstration of a language in evolution at a fast pace!!