Posted in Uncategorized

MonkeyFilter has an interesting set of links this morning about text language and the debate in Scotland and New Zealand about whether it should be allowed on exams. 

On one hand, languages change over time.  You could argue that the term is evolution, but I’ll settle for ‘change.’  And some of text language will creep into English as a whole.  It’s inevitable.  But…  First there’s the issue using written language that is appropriate to your audience and situation.  Exams aren’t talking to your friends.  The language used should reflect that.  Second, language should be clear.  I’m sure if I would have owned a cell phone since I was ten that I could decipher text-speak with the best of them.  In fact, that first link seems to suggest that text-speak may in fact mimic some of the benefits of learning a second language.  That’s a theory I’d like to see played out.  But when reading the Hamlet quote in text-speak (in the Scotland article), I honestly read “tAk armz agnst a C f trblz” as “take arms against a sea of tribbles” which, while futile, makes sense to me.  The language is not clear.  And lastly, these exams aren’t being administered via mobile phone, are they?  The abbreviations are meant to reduce the amount of letters used to make thumb-shift typing easier.  It is no easier to type ‘l8tr’ than ‘later’ or ‘armz’ than ‘arms’ on my QWERTY keyboard.  And it’s only a marginal difference when writing longhand.  I’m not sure if it’s really a matter of student laziness as it is something to annoy certain adults (like me).