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Is Text Messaging Ruining English?

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With every generation come cries that teenagers are destroying the language with their newfangled slang. The current grievance harps on the way casual language used in texts and instant messages inhibits kids from understanding how to write and speak “properly.” While amateur language lovers might think this argument makes sense, experts say this is not at all the case. In fact, linguists say teenagers, far from destroying English, are innovating and enriching the language.

First of all, abbreviations like haha, lol, omg, brb, and btw are more infrequent than you might imagine, according to a 2008 paper by Sali A. Tagliamonte and Derek Denis. Of course, 2008 is a long time ago in terms of digital fluency, but the findings of the study are nevertheless fascinating. Looking at IM conversations of Toronto-based teenagers, Tagliamonte found that “the use of short forms, abbreviations, and emotional language is infinitesimally small.” These sorts of stereotypical markers of teen language accounted for only 3 percent of Tagliamonte’s data. Perhaps one of her most interesting findings is that older teens start to outgrow the abbreviation lol, opting for the more mature haha. Tagliamonte’s 16-year-old daughter told her, “I used to use lol when I was a kid.”

Tagliamonte, who now is exploring language development in texting as well as instant messaging, argues that these forms of communication are a cultivated mix of formal and informal language and that these mediums are “on the forefront of change.” In an article published in May of this year, Tagliamonte concludes that “students showed that they knew where to use proper English.” For example, a student might not start sentences with capital letters in IMs and text messages, but still understands to do this in formal papers. Tagliamonte believes that this kind of natural blending of conversational registers employed by teens would not be possible without a sophisticated understanding of both formal and informal language.

It was once trendy to try to speak like people wrote, and now it’s the other way around. For the first time in history, we can write quickly enough to capture qualities of spoken language in our writing, and teens are skillfully doing just that. John McWhorter’s 2013 TED Talk “Txting is killing language. JK!!!” further supports the idea that teens are language innovators. He believes their creative development of the English language should be not mocked, but studied, calling texting “an expansion of [young people’s] linguistic repertoire.” He singles out the subtle communication prowess of lol. Teens are using it in non-funny situations, and its meaning has expanded beyond just “laugh out loud.” Now it can be used as a marker of empathy and tone, something often lacking in written communication. This is an enhancement–not a perversion–of language. There’s also evidence to suggest that lol sometimes carries a similar meaning to wtf (and furthermore, the abbreviation wtf is more functional and sophisticated than it seems).

Teens aren’t the only ones opting for abbreviations in written communication. The first citation of OMG in the Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1917 letter from the British admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher to none other than Winston Churchill. He writes, “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis–O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)–Shower it on the Admiralty!!” Clearly, to give young people all the credit for spreading new abbreviations would be shortsighted, though this letter does bring up the question of where Admiral John Fisher first encountered OMG. Perhaps he picked up this colorful expression from his grandchildren.

176 Comments

  1. SMS A World Language -  July 22, 2014 - 1:22 am

    […] barrier has been broken, with abbreviations and slang used by people of all nations and countries. Thanks to simple text messages, we can all communicate together as one big […]

    Reply
  2. Real Deal -  July 22, 2014 - 1:20 am

    I think text messages are the language of the world and have broken down cultural barriers… all power to the SMS

    Reply
  3. chanelle -  May 26, 2014 - 6:39 am

    ok. so idk, well i kind of agree, bcuz after a real good round of texting w/someone and i have english class, i start making those grammar mistakes. like forgetting to capitalize and stuf like that. lol

    Reply
  4. Rihays -  May 25, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    I can’t stand shorthand, even in note-taking. And it’s not so much that teenagers are “ruining” language as disregarding it. A lot of people I can understand just fine when we’re talking. But trying to read an email or a text or even a Facebook post is impossible. It’s just a clutter of words with no punctuation whatsoever, no capitals, nothing to distinguish one sentence from another. In an emergency, shorthand can be wonderful to convey a brief message to get the word out about whatever. But if you are going to sit down and write out an email or Facebook message, at the very least use capitals and periods where appropriate.

    Reply
  5. Keene Lolita -  May 25, 2014 - 12:42 am

    Everything evolves include language

    Reply
    • .FATNYANCAT -  May 26, 2014 - 4:46 pm

      #MEOW MEOW KITTY MEOW :3

      Reply
  6. ~ -  May 24, 2014 - 5:35 pm

    Misspellings n acronymns r just a method of conveying informality and tone into a conversation thats based in text~
    Nowadays using punctuation and grammar is just being overly serious in a casual conversational context

    So yea~ u n00bs can gtfo cuz 1337 is ze language of le future~

    Reply
  7. CNichole -  May 22, 2014 - 11:04 am

    I’m a teenager, and it irritates me immensely when my friends/boyfriend use shortened language. I, like many people who commented, find it ridiculous. I also find it less personal. Would it really be that much more difficult for people to type in all of the correct letters instead of coming up with an abbreviation for everything? (Not that abbreviations are bad, there’s an appropriate time to use them as well as an annoying one, such is the case in instant messaging.) (:

    Reply
    • Tanya1978 -  May 28, 2014 - 9:37 am

      i totally agree with you 100 percent!!!

      Reply
  8. DIANNE -  May 22, 2014 - 9:02 am

    I just want to point out that EVERY language has its own slang when it comes to texting. My first laguage is Tagalog a.k.a. Filipino and we have been using text slangs since we first are able to use texting in my experience that was back in 1995 so I do not agree with text slangs ruins ENGLISH. Its in EVERY language and it certainly hasnt ruin both languages for me.

    Reply
  9. Gong -  May 21, 2014 - 9:14 am

    Hey guys this is new age not the early man stage so do wht u think u can actually using slang like “lol”,WTF,OMG helps to save the time!!!!!
    So Cheers everyone…………

    Reply
    • chanelle -  May 26, 2014 - 6:41 am

      haha so ah-gree POINT

      Reply
    • T'omm J'Onzz -  May 27, 2014 - 1:45 pm

      wea u frm

      Reply
  10. Nora -  May 20, 2014 - 2:11 pm

    the world is changing…

    Reply
    • Den -  May 21, 2014 - 6:15 am

      Seeing as how most of our language is shortened from other words, anyone in disagreement with this article should just stop speaking in general. Ever want to say “Goodbye!” to someone? That’s slang. [God Be With Ye] was abbreviated once [God BWY] and is now pronounced Goodbye. I feel alot of the older generations just want to hold on to their time and that’s ok but don’t criticize the new just because it wasn’t the new that you brought.

      Reply
  11. Jenny -  May 19, 2014 - 5:04 pm

    Personally I forget how to spell sometimes because I’ve been using them too often. But maybe that’s just me.

    Reply
  12. Jeff -  May 15, 2014 - 4:18 am

    Almost all of the adults who moan about it (using slang) are guilty of it themselves. They use their Blackberry Messaging Service, Facebook ,Mixit’s and even work emails to do the same thing, using LOL WTF etc. Who are they to complain? You can only tell your own kids what to do, and that’s it. To all the kids out there, do what you want, my kid has my support. It’s a new age. Adults can never accept the change that is happening (Most of them), they resist, they are scared. They fear change to things they are comfortable with. Just ignore the adults. You can all see what the evidence and studies show. So….WTF adults? Just chill.. LOL!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Reynah -  May 20, 2014 - 9:55 am

      yolo mehhh thoe swagg ;)

      #lykeeeeeeee doeee yo

      Reply
    • . -  May 20, 2014 - 3:37 pm

      You are cool

      Reply
    • Turtle -  May 21, 2014 - 7:53 am

      Jeff, you sound like a typical terrible parent. In other words, you’re NOT a parent, you’re a sperm donor. Just ignore the adults! It’s a new age? That’s such a cop out (now is it still o.k. to say that Jeff?) NO texting is NOT ruining the English language, the idiots themselves are ruining their use of the English language. And Jeff, this isn’t about “slang” you moron. Jesus, no wonder your kids are stupid.

      Reply
      • Olille -  May 21, 2014 - 12:47 pm

        I agree with Turtle, Jeff,you are weird

        Reply
    • Sydney -  May 27, 2014 - 11:29 am

      I agree with you!

      Reply
  13. THE MASTER -  May 14, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    I don’t really like text messaging vocab and stuff. I still occasionally use it, like for lol or abbreviation for “you”

    Reply
    • Ak -  May 19, 2014 - 4:43 am

      I txt a lot u are just not normal but that’s ‘k I like to sk8

      Reply
      • Aalleeyyaahh -  May 19, 2014 - 3:55 pm

        Hah. Yeah.

        Reply
  14. Me -  May 13, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    I’m agree with this article. But, sometimes, it’s frustrating when you are unable to read the message or to understand it. I know it’s faster this way, but we have to make at least a minimum of effort. I don’t speak English (I speak French, but I’m able to speak English) and the teenager do the same. That doesn’t matter the way they write when they ”talk” to each other. The most important thing is that they know when they have to use the formal and the informal language, that’s all.

    Reply
  15. whitegirlone -  May 13, 2014 - 1:43 pm

    Get serious. It is not only RUINING our language I feel like I am trying to communicate with a person from another planet. I do not do gibberish and the most repulsive think that I can think of off the top of my head is to receive a person emailing me using their TEXT steno. I don’t even both I just delete. I find it sad that any one having even a high school diploma reverts to something that in my opinion is so ignorant.

    Reply
    • Nik -  May 15, 2014 - 10:17 am

      Much of our language is slang. You just think *your* slang, or older, is better.

      Reply
    • jojo -  May 15, 2014 - 7:02 pm

      wow you should take a chill pill

      Reply
    • bobbones -  May 20, 2014 - 4:04 am

      *thing
      *anyone and who needs the high school diploma now?
      *bother
      *I do not write rubbish

      Reply
  16. Sarah -  May 12, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    What? I’m fifteen and don’t even care about these things. Why are you wasting time caring about what everyone else does? So they talk different than you. Who cares. Mind your own business and let them do what they want. And to all the other “teens” on this website, Stop sucking up to the adults I’m sure you do the same thing as everyone else.

    Reply
    • WordFreak -  May 23, 2014 - 10:30 pm

      “Sucking up to the adults”?!
      What do you think you’re going to be?

      Reply
      • This Guy Says... -  May 27, 2014 - 11:18 am

        Sucking up to the adults? How old are you? 10? Everyone grows up eventually whether you like it or not buster. She’s not “sucking up” to anyone, rather she’s only considering the common sense that we should all look towards. If you think that your “Kids Next Door” group is going to last, well then good luck with that. *KND is a show that used to air on cartoon network in case you were wondering. XD*

        Reply
  17. u -  May 11, 2014 - 9:17 am

    no no no no no no no no no no

    Reply
  18. Scyphi -  May 10, 2014 - 9:30 pm

    I’m quite pleased to see how many people here are in agreement with this article. There are, of course, dissenters, and probably always will be (we have evidence of dissenters to “slang” language dating as far back as the time of Plato, so I guess they’re not going anywhere anytime soon) but it pleases me to see more people than I was actually expecting who have accepted, moved on, and better still, see there never really any real “danger” to language in the first place.

    To those of you who still have issue with texting and other slang filtering into language: best of luck to you in trying to keep it from happening. You’re gonna need it. ;)

    Reply
    • wordnerd -  May 14, 2014 - 7:51 pm

      Since form tends to follow function in most things, what is the incentive for young people to learn standard written English?

      Reply
  19. Driftboy -  May 9, 2014 - 6:56 am

    I don’t know about all of you but if it works for our generation then let it be because even where I work, we use VOIP technology and so we simaltaneously type and talk so this abbreviation and slang actually plays a big role when it comes to synchronisation of one’s work. so I say LET IT BE!
    @Real_Driftboy

    Reply
  20. KM -  May 9, 2014 - 1:55 am

    I occasionally get emails from people using text abbreviations. While I do somewhat understand why some people write like that, whenever I get one I automatically assume that person is a moron. My problem? Maybe.. but I don’t think I’m alone.

    It’s probably a bad idea to write “I wud luv 2 wrk 4 u lol :-)” on a résumé.

    Reply
    • Daniel Lopez -  May 14, 2014 - 10:10 am

      Well that’s because a resume is a formal piece of writing. But in things like texting it’s a different story.

      Reply
      • KM -  May 21, 2014 - 4:02 am

        It still reads like a moron wrote it.

        Reply
  21. ♥♂ -  May 8, 2014 - 9:51 am

    Texting slang is a choice people, lol you dont haf to use it! >;)

    Reply
    • ♥♂ -  May 8, 2014 - 9:51 am

      That “haf” tho. ;)

      Reply
      • Katie -  May 12, 2014 - 3:39 pm

        No no no you know if you don’t want to slang it’s your choice there just trying to write thing s shorter doesn’t mean they don’t know how to use the word so it’s a choice :-/

        Reply
        • r0n1 -  May 19, 2014 - 12:42 pm

          hear hear
          all those who are against use of abbreviations are exposing is their own age. welcome to the twenty-first century where in the presence of busier lives, saving time is being made easier by the minute! i wonder how people would complain without all the developments that have brought us this far.
          ;)

          Reply
          • WordFreak -  May 23, 2014 - 10:33 pm

            For a start, this is about text-speak and not abbreviations.
            As to the age comment – I’m dead against text-speak and I’m not yet twenty.

  22. K. -  May 7, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    I’m an editor by profession, and also one of those in the “21+” bracket that are being accused of making such slang worse (25, now). It’s fallen (or is falling) out of style. That’s all. While I always used it sparingly, and still do, it was always a time constraint issue rather than a knowledge gap. One that entirely depends on the person I’m speaking to.

    Aside from my 16-year-old brother, I never saw anyone use text slang on a regular basis, even when I was in high school. He only used it between the ages of 14 and 16, and has suddenly stopped.

    I used to have a problem with “text speak” when it first seemed to become a fad; but then I realized something. English as a language will change. English in 2014 is not the same as English was just 50 years ago (not contextually, anyhow). When has it ever remained stagnant? When has ANY language? Generations make alterations, words drop out of favour, others change in meaning/spelling/whatever else… it’s the people who latch on to what is “proper” or “intellectual” and can’t accept anything less, for some reason, that drive me crazy. Coming from an editor: Alter your language use for the audience, whether that’s written or spoken, and regardless of you’re level. Don’t dumb yourself down; but be simple (not easy), and respectful of the fact that not everyone will be at your level (they might be below or, heavens, even above). Everyone wants to be addressed in a way they can understand. That’s just the end of it.

    Reply
    • Meredith Gregory -  May 8, 2014 - 3:45 pm

      What many people don’t know, (to young or not yet born), or don’t remember, is that when cell phones first became to be, text messaging was charged per character. People, especially the the teen set, became innovative with abbreviations. There were stories about shocked parents receiving bills from their cell carriers for amounts in the hundreds of dollars. I think, but not 100% sure, that Verizon was the first to offer unlimited texting for a smaller fee or ‘free’, providing, of course, you sign a 1 or 2 year contract.

      Reply
    • jojo -  May 15, 2014 - 7:03 pm

      some people

      Reply
    • Emma -  May 16, 2014 - 6:17 am

      I completely agree with your response, but as an editor I think you ought to know how to use “your” properly. :)

      Reply
    • WDYTIA -  May 17, 2014 - 9:18 pm

      I completely agree with the sentiment of your comment, but seeing as how I am an editor myself… you, uhm, used the wrong form of ‘your’ in your third-to-last sentence.

      Reply
  23. Phoneless -  May 7, 2014 - 8:38 am

    It is stupid to make abbreviations or leave out 1 vowel (luv) Oh NO, it is to much work to add 1 letter to spell correctly!! >:(

    Reply
    • AustinR -  May 8, 2014 - 11:35 am

      Well, it’s just one letter as you said. So what? One letter, abbreviations are the new “Slang” I guess, I adjusted.
      One letter won’t make a difference either way.
      Get over it.

      Reply
    • SlyBeats -  May 8, 2014 - 11:37 am

      Not exactly. You see, sometimes words that are abbreviated are often used to create somewhat of a more informal means of communication. For instance as in this situation, the usage of “love” might be a little to strong, as the abbreviation may seem stupid to you, in embodies a theme of a more accepted friendly conversation of a sorts.
      You seem to be assuming a narrow-minded opinion, as imposed by your demeaning comment, making a biased opinion as to why what someone could decide to text would be considered “stupid”.

      Please reconsider how you state your opinions next time, as people (such as myself) may reply to them in a way opposite from mine, using emotions and possibly name-calling.

      Reply
      • Daniel Lopez -  May 14, 2014 - 10:14 am

        Couldn’t agree more.

        Reply
  24. Anonymous teen -  May 6, 2014 - 5:39 pm

    Honestly, teens are becoming more and more used to texting “slang” and it’s only part of our texting vocabulary, not formal. Of course many teens do have issues with grammar, but it has nothing do do with texting slang. As a matter of fact, most teens don’t like texting slang and use proper sentences. Adults are the ones who have started to translate the few teens who do use texting slang into thinking that all teens do. This article is one of the best I’ve read defending teens against texting lingo relating to the it poor grammar etc.

    Reply
    • Kitty -  May 9, 2014 - 9:29 am

      I agree. As a teen myself, I find that texting, or even typing, in full, complete sentences is far easier than “txt spk.” I do though, use the abbreviations for a quick message to a text I received. I also occasionally like to go on Omegle and romp a little and say phrases such as,”I LUV YEW.” But that’s a distinct difference from formal and informal language.
      Great Article.

      Reply
      • electrospider7813 -  May 27, 2014 - 5:13 pm

        sometimes i do use ‘txt speak’ but when im in a hurry,( like”omg i rly need ta say a thing quick!” )

        Reply
  25. SHEEWUZINTREDY -  May 6, 2014 - 5:17 pm

    SHE WASNT READY SHE WASNT READY

    Reply
  26. IWANTYOU -  May 6, 2014 - 5:15 pm

    YOLO : )

    Reply
    • Ak -  May 19, 2014 - 4:45 am

      You only live once, ha ha , not

      Reply
  27. Mr carlson .jr -  May 5, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    FOLLOW anaflfanpage on instagram they are really wesome and they post heaps of AFL PHOTOS

    Reply
  28. Mr carlson .jr -  May 5, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    Can you transfer the word text to spanish so i can read it

    Reply
  29. Larry -  May 5, 2014 - 6:44 am

    I don’t if texting is the culprit or not; but, something is ruining young peoples’ language skills. As much as texting, I blame newcasters (who are increasingly ignorant) and celebrities who never had a clue how to put one word in front of another. Young people, particularly, emulate those they admire; spelling, syntax and a serious lack of vocabulary knowledge are rampant in our society and getting worse all the time. The USA in 1940 had a lower literacy rate than it does today; still, they had a better grasp of basic vocabulary and proper sentence structure.

    Reply
    • Jackie Cutter -  May 5, 2014 - 9:04 pm

      Statements like this come off to me as being said by people who don’t spend any real time around youth. My ten year old niece just read to me a short story she wrote today and I was shocked at how advanced her writing appeared. These are experiences I’ve had again and again when engaging with young people.

      And when I go on Facebook or some other social network, it’s largely young people (usually in their teens) who are writing in a reasonably accurate if conversational manner. My great aunt it seems has a perpetually stuck caps-lock key. My godmother insists on using quotation marks for emphasis in ways that make it look like she is constantly being sarcastic. The consistent failure to use the correct homophones make my non-teenage relatives and friends’ writings difficult to read.

      But go ahead, assume that it’s youth who have terrible language skills.

      Reply
      • james -  May 8, 2014 - 9:15 am

        I agree with you, me being 16 I’ve been raised with grammar skills many teenagers lack, so thank you for standing up for the truth.

        Reply
        • WordFreak -  May 23, 2014 - 10:38 pm

          Same same!
          (Plus three years.)

          Reply
    • Nicole -  May 7, 2014 - 7:23 am

      I actually believe that anyone who struggles with language is because of their reading skills. If a child was not read to or did not read at an early age; later in their teenage and adult life they struggle with language, reading, and sometimes spelling.

      I have a variety of friends, myself included, who struggle with either dyslexia or other learning disabilities with reading and writing who have developed a better vocabulary and can get their meaning across fine. The reason why: they read while they were children and continue to read, even enjoying reading as a past time. I’m not saying you have to enjoy reading to be efficient in your language capabilities. But when I have watched children who began reading from ages 2 – 5, they are speaking at a higher level and understanding what their parents say to them and usually have a better love for learning.

      So the reason why I think teenagers and adults have problems with their language is most likely due to them not reading, especially when they were children.

      Here is a link to a site on why reading is so important at an early age and will back up my studies: http://www.reachoutandread.org/why-we-work/importance-of-reading-aloud/

      Reply
      • kaylynn holladay-garcia -  May 8, 2014 - 10:46 am

        i SO agree with u! Especially that 1st prt of ur comment! i was raised being a bookworm @ age 5!!!!!!!!!! and don’t get me wrong i’ll write txt style, but say it out loud?! no thanks, i don’t wanna sound like some preppie! = P

        Reply
      • Kitty -  May 9, 2014 - 9:35 am

        But then wouldn’t that just be evidence of bad parenting? What if the child was an orphan, or didn’t have the necessary environment to flourish and gain the knowledge that reading (or any other skill) is important to master, and should be written well? I think the American Literacy problem is directly connected with our nation’s debts, not with the lack of attitude and refusal to learn. Everybody learns: Even if they don’t realize it.

        Reply
      • WordFreak -  May 23, 2014 - 10:43 pm

        Exactly. My father is dyslexic but has done brain programs which have helped immensely with his reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary.
        On the other hand, my mother taught me to read at age four (I’m not talking about reading the three little pigs, I’m talking Laura Ingalls Wilder without help). I always loved learning and have a head full of random, useless information which I’m sure I’ll never use in my life. I’m now particular about my English to the point where it drives my friends insane!

        Reply
  30. Jack Colton -  May 4, 2014 - 1:54 pm

    I would argue that the greater problem isn’t as much with students – or with anyone who would be mindful enough to be reading an article on Dictionary.com, it is with adults (ages 21+) who have finished their education and who aren’t really looking to expand it.

    I’ve conducted many Q and A format interviews over the past several years and it’s pretty shocking to see how many people litter their answers with irrelevant acronyms and who seem to have no real understanding of how to write properly.

    Reply
    • Paul -  May 7, 2014 - 9:32 pm

      Welcome to my world Jack… I am a teacher in the Justice Studies field and have to read and mark the 1,500 word essays of 17 to (avg) 22 year olds. It’s a sad state of affairs, truly. Lawyers? Were words and language are so important… it’s not a bright future in my respectful view.

      Reply
      • Paul -  May 7, 2014 - 9:33 pm

        Okay, I know, just seen it – ‘Where’, not were… sorry!

        Reply
        • Erik -  May 13, 2014 - 10:56 am

          Don’t you mean saw?

          Reply
          • Derek -  May 19, 2014 - 7:03 am

            xD

  31. James -  May 4, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    Most phones these days have predictive text, which, as a teenager myself, I find very useful as you simply start typing a word and a list of common words pop up and you just touch whichever word you want to use and swipe it up into the message. This means that pretty much all of my messages are always typed in full english with correct punctuation and capitalization, which can also help some people learn to spell at the same time.

    Reply
    • Brett -  May 6, 2014 - 3:59 am

      I agree. Considering autocorrect, most messages are automatically corrected without an effort. This is actually bad though on the part of young children who are texting; it promotes “Well, I don’t need to know how to do it right if the phone does” thinking among them.

      Reply
    • Jennifer -  May 8, 2014 - 1:38 pm

      Predictive typing is what is causing spelling to decline rapidly!!!

      Reply
  32. Nick -  May 4, 2014 - 7:17 am

    Read 1984, text-message language is the cutting edge of Newspeak. As a college student with a decent sized vocabulary, I interact with people everyday that cannot understand simple sentence that do not contain social ticks such as “like”. I don’t know what “language experts” would think rotfl is an innovation of the language; but language is a tool of deduction, and this constant expansion of words having double meanings is what makes English one of the hardest languages to learn. It’s getting to the point where people can’t articulate their own thought let alone understand someone else. Again, read 1984.

    Reply
    • Shawn -  May 7, 2014 - 6:47 pm

      I am also a college student with a great vocabulary, but the vast majority of my interactions don’t include those space words (like, um, yeah, etc.) in anything close to an overabundance. Language is not a tool of deduction, language is a tool of expression. We speak and say things and write to be heard and understood.

      rofl is actually a fantastic short hand tool in digital conversations to convey laughter, to a greater degree than lol and lmao. Consider it like the progression of damp/wet/soaked, except it has a connection to humor and tone rather than the moisture content of an item.

      And the expansion of the English language is just that, expansion. Some words and sayings fall out of favor as others come into the vernacular. And, as of yet, text speech is largely kept to the internet and cell phones where it makes the most sense. The most egregious errors involving it that I have witnessed come from the older generations still struggling with appropriating this contextual language and the tools it is used through. My girlfriend’s texts lack most punctuation and capitalization, but otherwise utilize good conventions. Compared to my mother who uses more punctuation and capitalization, but speaks in sentence fragments.

      Reply
    • Nik -  May 15, 2014 - 10:24 am

      It’s not like 1984. Newspeak was used to dumb people down, so they would think less. Slang is used to convey *more* ideas, not less.

      Reply
  33. anbu arasan -  May 4, 2014 - 6:06 am

    hello

    Reply
  34. A Religious Fellow -  May 2, 2014 - 10:11 am

    I think texting is okay and it is not ruining the English Language.

    Reply
    • brian -  May 5, 2014 - 1:14 pm

      I think that texting helps kids understand each other

      Reply
    • jessica -  May 27, 2014 - 3:58 pm

      I am 16 years old, i think you guys are complete idiots. Slang may be easier at times but what happens when a new slang word is created and you have no idea what people are saying, what are you going to do then? Slang will just keep ruining the lives of everyone.Ok, one time we had to write an english essay on the magna Carta, and do we agree or disagree with it and this one (no names will be added) girl wrote that the magna Carta was “tots cool”.

      Reply
      • jessica -  May 27, 2014 - 4:00 pm

        *answer if. not do

        Reply
  35. Andrew -  May 2, 2014 - 2:12 am

    “It was once trendy to try to speak like people wrote”.
    IT STILL IS TRENDY IF YOU SPEAK A LANGUAGE.
    Most educated adults should agree that when you receive a terse and pithy text from a young or older person WITHOUT the nonsense, a lasting impression is made and special respect for that person is established.

    Reply
    • Andrew -  May 2, 2014 - 2:13 am

      ooop’s IT IS STILL TRENDY… LOL!

      Reply
  36. A Teenager -  May 1, 2014 - 5:37 pm

    As a teenager myself, I can honestly tell you that not many people use “text slang”. Many don’t even recognize some abbreviations. Yes, I will admit that some teenagers make ridiculous grammar errors, and often confuse words such as your/you’re, their/there/they’re, and to/too. Other teenagers use full sentences with the proper punctuation and capitalization. I do. In fact, I often cringe at the pathetic errors of others who are simply lazy (and sometimes uneducated). Teenagers are still quite capable of writing formal essays with an elevated style of writing, and some of us are pretty good at it. Just because text slang exists doesn’t mean we are incapable of using proper English, and I applaud this article for shedding some light onto this topic.

    Reply
    • Random Person -  May 3, 2014 - 3:30 pm

      Bravo! Bravo! That’s just what I wanted to hear.

      Reply
      • doge -  May 12, 2014 - 2:08 am

        lel random person

        Reply
    • Adapted Underdog -  May 4, 2014 - 7:23 pm

      You are a beacon of hope.

      Reply
      • Tech and pen -  May 11, 2014 - 11:51 pm

        I, too, am a teen. I feel the same way. When I see a message such as: “h3y whut r u doin” I want to flush my phone down the toilet, honestly.

        Reply
    • Angel -  May 14, 2014 - 12:54 pm

      Thank you! I KNEW I wasn’t alone!

      Reply
    • jessica -  May 27, 2014 - 4:02 pm

      Thank you so much, i feel the same way.

      Reply
  37. Mike -  May 1, 2014 - 9:08 am

    Oh, well if they know to use capital letters in the beginning of sentences, then everything is fine! We were worried for nothing.

    This is like saying that apes can drive cars because they have opposable thumbs.

    Reply
    • Audrey Mai -  May 1, 2014 - 9:03 pm

      Well, they COULD if people put in the time and effort and the gorilla isn’t stupid.

      Reply
    • mariah -  May 2, 2014 - 8:30 am

      yall wild

      Reply
  38. JD -  April 30, 2014 - 11:05 am

    There is no modern phenomenon that is threatening “proper” English more than SMS and social media. The language is being adulterated, bastardized, butchered, distorted, and perverted at a faster rate than ever before.

    You’re simply all fools to believe -or try to assert- otherwise…

    End of discussion.

    Reply
    • Nik -  May 15, 2014 - 10:27 am

      Hah. People have used abbreviations for a *long* time. We wouldn’t have words like “goodbye” without it. Everyone always says what *this* generation is doing to language is terrible. In 50 years, it’ll be the norm, and whatever the kids are doing at the time will be considered god-awful.

      Reply
  39. txt me nw plis -  April 30, 2014 - 1:17 am

    the writer should have researched in the philippines, the texting capital of the world. then maybe she would have written a different tone to her article. heheh.

    Reply
  40. juicy jub -  April 29, 2014 - 5:36 pm

    im neutral in this. there are pros and cons to both. I know how to do all the words, its just I feel lazy. btw, if u r cool, say my llama fell down the toilet and went to Hogwarts. just type it in. that simple. bye bye!!!!

    Reply
    • juicy jub -  April 29, 2014 - 5:39 pm

      my llama fell down the toilet and went to Hogwarts! also, ill tell you if you are cool if you say it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  41. kyui -  April 29, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    texting is awesome bu losers think it ruins u life

    Reply
    • jessica -  May 27, 2014 - 4:03 pm

      just look how ridiculous you seem using that kind of grammar.

      Reply
      • jessica -  May 27, 2014 - 4:03 pm

        *Just

        Reply
  42. Caz -  April 29, 2014 - 1:42 pm

    Although many people say that this kind of abbreviation is “Destroying the English language”, I do not believe that is the case. I am still in my teen years, and I do use those kinds of shorter terms, but as you can see by this passage, I can still speak, type, and communicate in a proper English manor. Also, similarly to most word documents on computers, there is usually some sort of “Auto-correction” on the device, or program, which I think is what is ruining our language. It fixes the mistakes we become too ignorant to recognize, and correct by ourselves. Such as the change from the word:
    abbrieviation to abbreviation. One sounds better, but that isn’t the way the word is spelled. See my issue?

    Reply
    • Mark -  April 29, 2014 - 4:35 pm

      I see and understand your point. The very idea that slang abbreviations can ruin a language is preposterous. Slang has been used in language, pretty much since the creation of language. It has been a long time since I was a teen, and from your passage it is plain-as-day that errors made when I was younger are still consistent within writing. Also since you are clearly an intelligent person I will point out a few errors in your passage that will help you in the future, assuming these are common issues and not just a slip of the finger.

      First point, commas go on the inside of the quotation marks. Secondly, “such as” is a coordinating conjunction(or an explanatory conjunction, someone correct me if this is wrong) and should rarely be used at the beginning of a sentence. Finally, a lesser known point is when comparing words, such as, “abbrieviation” and “abbreviation” they should be off set with quotation marks. This rule is called, “Words as Words.” Although when typing in a program italicizing is the correct method, but I have no clue if I can do that here. Last point, “manner” is the word you were looking for.

      Reply
    • Garen -  April 29, 2014 - 8:44 pm

      It’s funny, but I think you meant, “in a proper English manner,” unless of course you were typing that from the interior of an Oxfordshire estate house. Maybe it’s that autocorrect feature kicking in?

      Reply
    • Teach -  April 30, 2014 - 8:24 am

      Well said, and I agree with you.

      However, be careful with homophones. A manor is a house or estate that could be owned by an English lord or gentleman. “Batman’s secret cave is beneath stately Wayne Manor outside Gotham City.”

      A manner is a particular way of acting or behaving. “Alfred spoke in a very dignified manner.”

      Reply
    • Mary -  April 30, 2014 - 8:48 am

      Hmm… The correct spelling is “manner,” not “manor.” “Destroying” and “Auto” should not be capitalized. There are some unneeded commas, and I can’t imagine why “abbrieviation” would ever be better than “abbreviation,” or how it sounds differently.

      I don’t blame those mistakes on texting; I blame them on the school system and lack of fully competent teachers, and also on the journalism profession that has gotten very sloppy.

      Reply
    • JD -  April 30, 2014 - 11:02 am

      “manor”

      You tried so hard, and still screwed up.

      Everything you said, is wrong, and backwards.

      Here’s some teen talk for you: “FAIL!”

      Reply
    • EDW -  May 1, 2014 - 6:53 am

      Caz: Your comment “I can still speak, type, and communicate in a proper English manor.” was INCORRECT, unless, of course, you travel to the United Kingdom and do some speaking or writing in a large house! The CORRECT word to have used in this context is “manner.” Auto-correction was NOT your friend, here, as it is NOT able to correct careless (ignorant, perhaps?!) usage errors. At least you remembered to capitalize the word English!

      Reply
      • jbrojsdj -  May 1, 2014 - 9:48 am

        While you’re busy complaining EDW, consider your own message?
        You wrote, ‘INCORRECT, unless, of course, you travel’, the comma after unless is completely unnecessary and grammatically incorrect. Similarly, you wrote, ‘friend, here, as it’ which also is a fault on the part of your grammar.
        It may also be worth noting that CAPITALISING words is not considered polite or correct and nor is using multiple punctuation marks such as ‘?!’.
        I would hate to add insult to injury, but I must admit that I am a teenager.

        Reply
        • Gantar180 -  May 2, 2014 - 10:21 pm

          You have made quite a few mistakes in your comment; particularly about removing the comma after “unless.”

          Hey, I’m a teenager too! How old are you (vague Donnie Darko reference)?

          Reply
    • Jon -  May 1, 2014 - 4:48 pm

      Can’t say that i’ve ever been to an english manor before. I wonder what the interior would look like? :p

      Reply
  43. chloe -  April 29, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    i think that using abbreviations are definitely easier than using the actual word.

    Reply
  44. PX -  April 28, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    gdiah or gdh (go die in a hole)
    no (not okay)
    kmn (kill me now)
    ihy (i hate you)
    dbad or dbd (don’t be a dick)
    sha (shut up)

    These acronyms were created by my friend and I. Enjoy using them.

    Follow my IG @phillipxiang. I accept all requests. Tag your acronyms to #Acronyms4Bill

    Reply
    • Chloe -  April 29, 2014 - 12:58 pm

      you should tell more acronyms.

      Reply
    • EDW -  May 1, 2014 - 7:06 am

      PX: Your flagrant misuse of the English language is part of a much larger problem! “These acronyms were created by my friend and I” is incorrect usage of the subjective form of the first person singular personal pronoun “I.” You should have used “… by my friend and me.”
      Also, your shortenings of common (or not so common) phrases are NOT acronyms! They are mnemonics or, just simply, abbreviations. Acronyms, by definition, are actual words! Using “no” for “not okay” can only be confused or misinterpreted by educated speakers.

      Reply
      • bald edw doesn't know his language -  May 1, 2014 - 3:16 pm

        EDW.
        You just wrote ‘”I.”‘ – the full stop, or (depending on your residence) period, should only be within the inverted commas if the whole sentence is included within the inverted commas.
        I think that before you voice you opinion too many more times you should go and study your English textbook.
        When will you learn?

        Reply
        • Isaac -  May 2, 2014 - 1:14 am

          Shouldn’t you have used the word your not you?

          Reply
          • sdfkjh -  May 5, 2014 - 1:12 am

            Yes, I should have used ‘your’ rather than ‘you’ – but that’s just a typo, not a grammatical error.

  45. Zack -  April 28, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    I think that if you take away the vowels, its ok. But for words like orange, it would be rng. For words like just, jst is fine to do. And abbreviations are perfectly fine.

    Reply
    • Zack -  April 28, 2014 - 4:18 pm

      WAIT, i forgot one thing, things like Minecraft and Cube world are computer games that have a chat system and are ok to use slang for.

      Reply
    • ray -  April 29, 2014 - 11:01 am

      gtfo bro-.-

      Reply
  46. Jason P -  April 28, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    Hamlet: 2 B or not 2 B, tht iz the ?

    As an english major/nazi myself, and lover of the english language, it pains me more to hear these abreviations than to read them. I can understand shortening “by the way” to “btw” in a game chat, or especially text message where the character count is limited, lest the message be split into two. However, when I actually hear a young person say “bee tee dubs” it is enfuriating! “Bee tee dubs” is no fewer sylables than “by the way” so the whole point of shortening the phrase becomes moot. I also agree with the sentiment that this seems to be the DE-evolution of the language. Words can be powerful when used correctly and in a day and age where, as was pointed out, language is written more now than ever before, this lazy, informal speech pattern (or lack thereof) is only going to hurt those who never learn any better or at least future generations who have to rely on it for their history. God help us if they start translating the Bard’s work into SMS!

    Reply
    • pewpew -  April 29, 2014 - 10:15 am

      haha “enfuriating” calm down English nazi

      Reply
    • jojo -  May 15, 2014 - 7:08 pm

      chill it only a faster way of talking

      Reply
  47. Michael -  December 24, 2013 - 9:15 pm

    Texting is a natural consequence of the tiny keyboards on smart phones. It began in earnest in fast-paced IRC chat-rooms in the 90s, then spread from there. Further impetus was provided by abbreviated descriptions of computer hardware and software. Scientists writing papers are no strangers to abbreviations. Consider magnetohydrodynamics or deoxyribonucleic acid or adenosine triphosphate, it’s much easier to write MHD, DNA and ATP, respectively.

    It’s a form of slang. But students definitely ought to learn proper grammar, being able to speak and write in complete, clear, whole sentences because soon enough they will be required to do so. Those that don’t will be judged insufficiently educated.

    Reply
  48. Charles -  December 7, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Texting has created its own language, SMS (short message speak), and there’s significant evidence to suggest its melding with traditional English is problematic. First, allow me to challenge Tagliamonte’s assertion that “students showed that they knew where to use proper English.” In a composition course I attended in college a few years ago, one student submitted a formal essay with the letter ‘u’ substituted for the actual word. Guess what grade he got. Imagine if that were a job application. McWhorter makes a good point that SMS can effectively convey tone. However, using the proper diction for the situation does so without the ambiguity of ‘lol’. The difference is the amount of thought put into it. This is what really makes it a problem. Language isn’t expanding, it’s shifting to a nonchalant state where it’s okay to not conjugate verbs and to rely solely on spellchecker rather than proofreading. Content suffers.

    Reply
    • JR -  May 9, 2014 - 4:35 am

      Amen!

      Reply
  49. im cool -  December 6, 2013 - 5:20 pm

    baa humberger I thought lol means little old lady did they all diE?

    Reply
    • ray -  April 29, 2014 - 11:02 am

      you are cool!! :)

      Reply
  50. Cesar -  December 4, 2013 - 9:37 pm

    In my opinion abbreviating some words are okay as long as its done in moderation. If to many words are abbreviated it becomes difficult to read. I type properly but every once in a while I will abbreviate words in order to save time. That doesn’t mean I don’t have enough intelligence and cant distinguish between when abbreviating is acceptable and when it is not. When you think about how most phones have limited characters the abbreviating makes sense. It would be slightly strange to receive 2 to 3 texts and each of them are just part of the same message. Its logical that teens would have invented short hand ways of writing out messages.

    Reply
  51. wealth splendour -  December 4, 2013 - 6:11 am

    Abbreviation words does no harm neither does it ruin english lang. I think is jst fun

    Reply
  52. Moises Garcia -  December 3, 2013 - 10:19 am

    I’m starting out grow out of lol, I’m actually catching myself using haha more often

    Reply
  53. Heather -  December 1, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    These linguists and the writer of this article obviously never taught a basic composition class. Also, it would seem that they are studying teens with a good education. When I teach Basic Writing in the fall, it takes me half the semester to get the students to leave the text language behind! And even then, they can’t seem to understand that an email to the professor means using proper grammar and English. So while I wouldn’t saying texting is ruining the English language, I would say that these results are skewed and that students need better writing education in the lower levels of academia (elementary through high school).

    Reply
  54. Daisy -  November 26, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    Texting, in my mind, is not really ruining language…though it is annoying when people say lol instead of laughing.

    Reply
  55. Ty -  November 22, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    If anything there is more written communication than any other time history. People are naturally going to contract expressions and re-assign meanings. The sign of a thriving language, There is a whole subgroup deemed “grammar nazis” who point out every “your/you’re”, “their/there” and “then/than” error they find.

    Reply
  56. It's Just Me... -  November 17, 2013 - 3:59 am

    WHAT is the point of shortening words??? To be honest, I will, more often than not, lengthen a word, just so I can express myself more. I find that, heeeyyy, yes, sure – shortening words can be useful in the moment of urgency when you MUST get that text sent through before they go somewhere, so you shorten the words to send it through quicker…
    Most of my friends shorten their words and I’m sorry, it totally annoys me; for example: (prolly end up being abt 4ish… poss…) and its like HEY!!! Your fingers seriously won’t mind if you stretch them that little bit more juussstttt to type that one extra letter.
    The obesity levels around here are WAY too high anyway, lets start the fitness with our fingers, that’s what most people use these days.
    I don’t care if my friends think I’m being too formal and quite the perfectionist… all I know is they all think that I am theeee most expressionetic person ever invented when it comes to emailing.
    And Paula? I’m right behind you… all these electronic devices, I give up…

    Reply
    • Get it together, people. -  April 29, 2014 - 10:22 am

      Well said. Textspeak mania evidences intellectual laziness, as well as laziness of expression. Generally speaking, the shortcut has its place, but this thing has gotten way out of hand, to the point of misuse and degradation (of the language and its people). It’s shameful and embarrassing. The key is moderation.

      Reply
  57. Hana -  November 14, 2013 - 6:49 pm

    Like some other people, I type properly lots more than I use slang. I only use slang when I’m in a hurry to tell someone something or I’m just too tired (like late at night) to type properly.

    Reply
  58. Lena -  November 14, 2013 - 4:51 pm

    I don’t particularly like shortening my words, it has always bothered me the way sentences such as idk looked and how it would sound so stupid if someone would say that in real life than when they text. Typing the whole thing out is really a pain so I guess I’m glad slang and word shortenings exist.

    Reply
  59. Larry Thompson -  November 14, 2013 - 9:33 am

    Slang, dialect and even patois are vastly different than the issues presenting today. Texting, auto correct and spellcheck are all certainly destroying basic literacy, reading comprehension and communication skills. It has a corollary effect on basic intelligence and problem solving. These things cannot be denied. It is absolutely playing in the very shallow end of the gene pool. Those, like Ms Solomon, who insist otherwise should just STFU!

    Reply
    • Get it together, people. -  April 29, 2014 - 10:24 am

      I concur.

      Reply
  60. Paula -  November 14, 2013 - 9:05 am

    CRAP, I should have typed what IS ruining!!!!!!

    Reply
  61. Paula -  November 14, 2013 - 9:04 am

    No, text messaging isn’t ruining English. I use short versions of words, like yr for your, BUT what ruining English is the internet and every electronic device out there that doesn’t require people to read or write any more. Till the day I die I will correct bad writing. There are abbreviations and telescoping, and then there is just laziness. your you’re there their they’re to too two awe awww

    Reply
  62. Dayo -  November 14, 2013 - 3:01 am

    Its tru coz some things dont require 2 b in ful n abbreviating them is d best option

    Reply
  63. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 14, 2013 - 2:06 am

    @alashiaw williams:
    The point of the dictionary is to be a dictionary. The point of the blog is that people will learn new things. But they changed the blog and now I hate it and I can’t get around any more. Please change it back, Dictionary.com!!

    My opinion is all things in moderation. It’s fine to ignore capitals and use abbreviations on the Internet or texting, as long as the others you’re chatting with understand the abbr. But no blatant perversions of the language like “wuddup.” That just sounds dumb.

    so keep txting, pplz! lol

    P.S. Minecraft rocks.

    Reply
    • Get it together, people. -  April 29, 2014 - 10:46 am

      Pssst: “pplz” (and “ppl” for that matter) sounds and looks just as dumb as “wuddup”.

      Reply
  64. Brian -  November 14, 2013 - 2:04 am

    hi

    Reply
  65. Doge -  November 14, 2013 - 1:45 am

    such story
    so good
    wow
    much interest

    Reply
  66. usman -  November 13, 2013 - 10:38 pm

    good informatiion admin keep it up have a nice dy.

    Reply
  67. your mom -  November 13, 2013 - 8:05 pm

    fuge you

    Reply
  68. yo mom -  November 13, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    #yoloswag

    Reply
  69. #yoloswag -  November 13, 2013 - 8:03 pm

    lol #yolo

    Reply
  70. awesome365(Maddie) -  November 13, 2013 - 6:52 pm

    Thanx I learned a lot from this
    LOL,
    TTYL,
    GTG,
    ~Me

    Reply
  71. Fishtree -  November 13, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    I also like to type properly. Texting language seems immature to me, and I would rather be thought of as more sophisticated. I die halfway through typing a reply quite often in video games, however.

    Reply
    • Get it together, people. -  April 29, 2014 - 10:42 am

      I agree. Textspeak is very juvenile, especially when anyone age 35 and over is using it. Those full grown adults I know who use the same text language as teens–they tend to have duller intellect and stunted maturity levels.

      Reply
  72. denzgab -  November 13, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    Well, its quite true that sometimes SMS or text is ruined the grammatical consciousness of a child but nevertheless it depends on how he/she taught by their parents and teachers regarding the formal and informal writing. As I personally sometimes shorten the word [on text] such by distorting it into a wrong spelling because too long to write but on writing a formal letter I am keen on it and conscious and always accurate because I don’t really like someone is criticizing and mocking my grammar.

    Reply
  73. Anonymously -  November 13, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    LOL,BRB, F U

    Reply
  74. Anonymous -  November 13, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    OMFG

    Reply
  75. mary popins doesnt like you -  November 13, 2013 - 3:21 pm

    Ok first of all haha is not a “SLANG” word. you obviously have no clue what your talking about. lol brb and btw I bet that you yeah you the person who wrote this article probably uses the most out of all of us. I mean seriously are you kidding me stop lying to yourself you know you use “slang” too. everybody does at least once in their lives and if they don’t… well… that’s just really sad because that means that they most likely don’t have lives… or your just a goody two-shoes. so I think you should think before you speak. Bye

    Reply
  76. tyler -  November 13, 2013 - 2:54 pm

    and what is the deal with hashtags (#) they mean NUMBER

    Reply
  77. tyler -  November 13, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    if we slip into abbrieviating everything we wont be able to go back

    Reply
  78. Marcel Paige -  November 13, 2013 - 1:02 pm

    I type properly on the internet and the games I play on the computer. I use periods, capitals, etc. most of the time. But that’s unlike all of my other friends.

    Reply
  79. your mom -  November 13, 2013 - 10:37 am

    ur madre is a toaster oven

    Reply
  80. alashiaw williams -  November 13, 2013 - 9:05 am

    hi what is this website about I am new to it helpme to understand the websites reasons and purpose

    Reply
  81. Wabbajack -  November 13, 2013 - 4:34 am

    I use both lol and haha, but “lol” alone seems to have lost its meaning. As a result, I now intensify it by capitalising the whole thing. LOL

    Reply
  82. 1 -  November 13, 2013 - 1:33 am

    lol

    Reply
  83. 1 -  November 13, 2013 - 1:33 am

    5

    Reply
  84. Stephanie -  November 12, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    I agree. If only teachers and parents could understand then living as a teenager in literature class would be so much more fun. Especially when taking down notes during lectures.

    Reply

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