Y txtng cn b v gd 4 improving linguistic ability of children
A study of the spelling and punctuation of 11-year-olds who regularly use mobile text messaging found no difference between their attainment and the average achievement levels of non-texting pupils of the same age and educational level.
Bev Plester, who conducted the study, said that there appeared to be a strong positive relationship between children’s attainment in standard English and the sophistication of their texting. “There is no evidence to link text messaging among children to a poorer ability in standard English and those children who were the best at using textisms were also found to be the better spellers and writers,” she told the British Psychological Society in London yesterday.
Publication of the research comes amid growing concern about the effect of new technologies on children’s ability to communicate.
An estimated nine million children in the UK under the age of 15 own mobile phones, and growth in the market is being driven by the under-10s. The average age for children to be given their first mobile phone has fallen to 8, and a million youngsters between the ages of 5 and 9 now own one.
Mobile phone use is now so much a part of youth culture that it has been incorporated into some educational material, with summaries of classics such as Shakespeare plays sent to pupils’ mobiles in text format.
Fears that texting might be harming language development arose after examination boards and teachers noticed a growing number of textisms in children’s schoolwork and exam scripts. But Ms Plester’s research suggests that this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Ms Plester, a psychologist at Coventry University, and her colleague Clare Wood, invited 35 children aged 11 who used mobile phones to complete a questionnaire about their mobile phone use. They were asked to translate messages between standard English and text language, as well as to complete tasks to reveal their English, writing, reading and spelling abilities.
The results showed that the children were far more likely to use their mobile phones for texting than for talking. Most text abbreviations were phonetically based, such as “wot” for “what” and rebus — or puzzle — types, such as “C U L8r”.
Many of the children also used “youth code” or casual language such as “dat fing”, “gonna” or “wanna”. The most commonly used acronym was “wuu2”, for “what are you up to?” The children who were best at spelling used the most textisms.
Ms Plester said that the children had developed a highly sophisticated command of different linguistic registers. “They know when to use standard English and when to use textisms or genteel gangster speech, such as ‘dat fing’. If they allow text language to enter their school or exam work, it is probably because they are doing it on purpose to make a point, such as demonstrating a lack of respect . . . It is not because they do not know how to spell or write.”
What are you doing tonight? Can you come out to the cinema? Wot u doin 2nit Cn U cm 2 cnma
I cannot come out. I have too much homework to do. Cnt cm out 2 mch hmwk
…and from http://news.scotsman.com/
🙂 Txt comp splits teachers 😦
Aberdeen University wants the competition, which is aimed at secondary school pupils and will see the winning entrants published, to attract as many youngsters as possible. Key literary figures have also backed the use of text and other ‘languages’.
But the move has been condemned by headteachers as yet another example of dumbing down and falling educational standards.
The What’s The Story contest is open to pupils aged between 11 and 18. Winning entries will be published in a specially commissioned book. A university spokesman said: “The theme of the competition is ‘oor wey o’ spikin’.”
Annette Murray, arts education co-ordinator with Aberdeen City Council, which is co-organising the contest, revealed that entries had already been received in street and Cockney rhyming slang, Doric, Geordie, German, French and even Mongolian, as well as in text abbreviations.
“We want to empower young people and allow them to write in the style they feel most comfortable using, and if that is in text-speak or street-speak then fine,” she said.
“Language is living and evolving constantly and we want to reflect that. If you can encourage young people to get involved in writing then that has got to be positive. There is always time for them to learn to express themselves in the more traditional, ‘proper’ way in future.”
Murray was backed by Dr Donald Smith, director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and chair of the Literature Forum for Scotland.
He said: “The power of expression is a very important human right. Anything that encourages young people to express that right and skill is great and deserves to be applauded.”
But Bryan Lewis, the headmaster of Mary Erskine and Stewart’s Melville private junior school in Edinburgh, felt the relaxing of the competition rules was another example of the white flag being raised in the face of falling literary and academic standards.
“It may be unfashionable to say it, but text-messaging abbreviations and slang are not appropriate substitutes for correct English,” he said.
“This is an extremely unhelpful development which serves to legitimise a form of communication which is not going to stand the test of time in a literary sense.
“It demeans the competition and we certainly would not allow our pupils to consider stories containing text abbreviations to be literature or proper writing.”
Lewis, who sparked international interest last year by re-introducing the use of fountain pens in his school, felt the ‘inclusive’ entry criteria for the contest were symptomatic of a wider malaise in Scottish education.
“Everything is being lowered down to the lowest common denominator, and increasingly mediocrity is deemed to be good enough,” he said.
Bill McGregor, general secretary of the Headteachers’ Association of Scotland, is also concerned at an increasing acceptance of abbreviated English. “In situations where formal English is required, such as entrance applications and essays, I am quite sure the same university would not like or accept text-speak,” he said.
“Our concern would be that mixed messages are being sent out to young people. The same group who are encouraging text-speak and slang would be the first to condemn it if it appeared in a student’s exam paper.”
McGregor added: “Because of the rate at which text-speak is taking hold, I shudder to think what letters will look like in 10 years’ time.”
Last year there was outrage when it was revealed that pupils using text shorthand in exams would not be penalised so long as they displayed an understanding of the subject.
A Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA) report on Standard Grade English showed that many pupils have a grasp of English so poor that they habitually resort to using text abbreviations.
An SQA spokesman said: “Text-message language is not considered appropriate. However, an answer written in text would be accepted if it was correct, but the candidate would not get top marks. To get the best marks they would have to write in standard English.”
Famous alumni of Aberdeen University, which was founded in 1495, include Labour Westminster heavyweights Alistair Darling and Tessa Jowell, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Nicol Stephen, Scottish Green leader Robin Harper and broadcasters Sandy Gall, James Naughtie and Nicky Campbell.
Beast – an adjective used to describe something that is very cool
Boom boom – an expression of approval
Chirps – chat up
Clappin’ – out of date or worn out
Feds – Police
Fo sho – yes, for sure, certainly
Happy slap – when feral youths attack bystanders and film it on their mobile phones
Howling – not aesthetically pleasing
Jook – to steal
Kotch – sit and relax
Lush – pleasing to the eye
Proper nang – first class, exceedingly good
Off the hook – an experience which exceeded one’s expectations
Rents – parents
Wagwaan – what’s going on
Your mum – An impertinent retort to an insult or question