Friday, April 25, 2008


Today's NYT is running this piece (and see this link to the full report):
Informal Style of Electronic Messages Is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds
In public presentations and interviews, linguists often get asked about whether texting will destroy English. Happily, Richard Sterling gives us just the right answer in this article: We need to learn to write in different ways for different audiences. I was actually encouraged to see the high numbers of teenagers who keep journals and to hear that most write for schools almost every day, even if we're talking about short assignments.

Oh yeah, it's not just America: NPR just ran a piece on French rock bands singing in English. It was the predictable 'I want a world audience and don't care about being French' from young musicians contrasted with angst over la langue fran├žaise. Relax, everybody, and take a deep breath. Rock lyrics ≠ language endangerment.

Maybe, as Tulagaq has found, we need a big blinking Wrong of Way sign on this cultural road.

Image from the BBC, in case you didn't at least recognize the dialect.


Jon Boy said...

I think one of the major mistakes people make when claiming that texting and IMing will destroy the language is that they equate the language with its standard system of spelling. I think the English language will go on no matter what happens to its spelling.

Mr. Verb said...


Of course, it sure would be nice to have a better spelling system, but I guess we have to keep spelling vowels the way they were pronounced before the Great Vowel Shift … .