I found this article surprisingly enlightening. I am not one of those people who are especially worried about texting abbreviations being the large meteor that destroys our ability to write, but neither have I given much thought to the hidden benefits of texting either.
There were a couple of ideas about texting from a linguistic perspective that I found fascinating:
Students may abbreviate and make up their own words, but they do so in grammatically correct and consistent manners. In fact, when they make up their own words, they’re subconsciously thinking about what kind of speech it is, and ordering it in their text accordingly. What’s more, when they’re abbreviating or inventing, they’re also paying close attention to the phonology of the word. That is, they’re keeping the letters they know they need to communicate the gist of the original world, or they’re riffing on a sound or concept in a way that will be intuitive for the other person to decode. Phonological awareness is directly related to our ability to read, and so texting can help both create and foster readers.
There are also some very creative ways you can incorporate the language of texting in your classes. A few that stood out for me was using it to translate Shakespeare – how would Hamlet sound as text messages? I am also intrigued with the idea of using texting abbreviations for note-taking. Students are already finding ways to get meaning across in shorthand- why not use that same language for note-taking?
Check it out- I guarantee you won’t see texting in the same way again!