Text-Speak: Is it Proof of Intellect or a Sign of Stupidity?

Not all of us may use it, but we all have encountered it at some point: Text-speak. This new language has been evolving since the first instant message was sent in the mid 1960s. Yes, the first Instant Messages were sent in the 1960’s! Amazingly enough, text-speak goes back further than that, back to the Victorian Era and was referred to stylistically as “emblematic.”   It is now used as a common tool in SMS (Short Message Service), better known as text messaging. To many this is an easy, abbreviated, and smart way of getting their point across. To others, ironically many of them born in the 1960s, it is confusing and shows a lack of vocabulary.

This new form of written English has only been expedited by the emergence of social media and its character limits. Tweets, possibly another conundrum for those a little longer in the teeth, allow for one to quickly and concisely communicate with hundreds of people at once. But is this technological convenience making us dumber?

At first glance someone who writes “U no wut I h8, trafic!” might come off to some as an uneducated idiot who is contributing to the retardation of the literary arts. However, others claim that it actually shows a sign of high levels of understanding the English language. I admit it, as much as I hate this new language, I often use it. It’s just easier, plain and simple. Rather than a retardation of the language it just may be the beginning of the evolution of it. Some studies show that children who often use “textisms” boast a higher reading level. There was a time when I would’ve scoffed at this idea, but after having read many of these articles I now feel differently.  Think about how textisms are put together. To write text-speak one has to have a firm grasp of phonetics, which coincidentally is how words are written when trying to display how they sound. If it’s good enough for Webster to use in his dictionaries, then it should be good enough for us to use in everyday communications. Show your smarts by texting.

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4 Responses to Text-Speak: Is it Proof of Intellect or a Sign of Stupidity?

  1. justinemrsich says:

    I read this and started thinking of my 13-year-old sister. She writes using “textisms” and personally for me, it drives me crazy. I tell her if she writes like that in texts, then one day it’ll be coming out on paper. Then again, in the third grade she had an 11th grade reading level…which is only higher now. Maybe I should leave her alone! Great Article!

  2. Brianna Balty says:

    LOL..JK..Okay enough of that. I personally use some sort of lingo/short text all the time. Its, as you say, much more simple and easier to type. I dont see anything wrong with it as long as the conversation is between someone who understands what you are saying; maybe a close friend. I find it interesting though, that my parents are just now grasping the whole texting thing. They seem to emjoy it much more than I do. THere getting faster and faster with type, and shortening their words. I love it because it makes me laugh. But as a professional, I would think twice about using slang or shortening my text just to save time. There’s always a time and place for that. Good Article!

  3. omedina49 says:

    i think that text speak is appropriate when talking to friends or family because we always seem to be in a hurry. Also, text speak will translate to my professional world if i allow it too. I like being able to write and speak in more than one way. It is like being bi-lingual, you can never have too many ways to communicate with someone.

  4. zachdrex says:

    I like how you mention how text speak requires strong understanding of phonetics. And it does! I think it does in fact take intelligence to send a message quickly using shortened words that incorporate symbols as phonetic replacements. However, it does not look formal in any manner whatsoever. Text speak should stay in the digital world and away from literature and writing.

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