Thursday, April 15, 2010

Text-Slang Creeping Into Academic Work

Thanks to text messaging, writing as an activity has increased,  in a manner of thinking. Unfortunately, quality writing has steadily decreased - which can also be attributed to texting.

Text speak, with it's own version of shorthand and slang, may be appropriate for a quick message to a friend, but it is completely inappropriate for school work and assignments. However, texting language has been seeping into academic work, leaving college professors simultaneously perplexed and exasperated.
"Despite the fact that I happen to be perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to my (e-mail) inbox directly from your phone keypad, 'wut up ya I cnt make it 2 clss lol' is insanely unprofessional," reads the syllabus of Alejo Enriquez, a Cal State East Bay instructor.

"Therefore, I am imposing a higher standard of grammar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon you and kindly request that all e-mails sent to me resemble any other letter to your teacher, supervisor, grandparents or parole officer."
Young adults and teens are constantly communicating via text messaging, more-so than older adults. According to a 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, two-thirds of middle- and high-school students have accidentally used instant-messaging-style words in their work, while a quarter admitted using emoticons in assignments. Switching back and forth between the informal communication with friends and formal communication with teachers and professors is proving difficult for some.

Text-speak isn't just invading homework and papers. The flippant mode of communication appears in e-mail correspondences from student to professor. A word to the college-bound: Professors didn't go through years and years of school and get that nifty PhD so you can address them as "Yo teach!" They are there to help you learn, addressing them respectfully will get you a lot further in their classes.

College always has been a place for students to learn how to communicate appropriately. After all, the education is supposed to prepare them for their future careers. Teaching students to ditch the tech-speak in formal, working situations is just the latest step in that education.

Personally, I just can't bring myself to use text shorthand in any situation. I spell out nearly every word when I'm texting, which isn't often. And when I get texts with lots of abbreviations, I swear it takes me twice as long to figure out what it says than if the person had just entered the extra letters to complete the word. I fully support ditching text-slang.

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