Language change Is a universal fact that occurs very regularly. If we go back, In all the existing languages, they are not the same as they were when they were first developed. If we think about it nobody talks the same as they use to 20 or 50 years ago. Language is the way people communicate with each other, express their feelings and emotions so since the world itself changes, it is inevitable for language to remain the same, for people’s way of communication changes and will still continue to alter.
As McMahon (1994) claims, speakers of a language are the ones who change It and re not conscious that they do so. Even though It Is us humans who change the language, why is it that when it occurs some try to prevent it? Like all other languages the English language has changed enormously since it was first developed, Decade by decade, year by year new words enter the English vocabulary that are needed in order to meet the changes in technology and many other things that occur in our lifetime. Not only new words are Inserted Into a language’s vocabulary, but pronunciation changes as well.An example of a big historic language change that fell years ago is the Great Vowel Shift and many claim that even the Queen changed the way she speaks. Testing is a rather new phenomenon that emerged in our lives due to the change in the way people communicate with each other and the development of technology. Text messaging otherwise called SMS for short messaging service, according to Farina and Lady (2011) is the transmission of text using a mobile phone.
These types of messages mostly involve one-to-one people that know each other.Testing developed In the sass’s and It Is now the most common way of communication especially in teenagers. This way of communication became very popular due to the fact that one can convey their meaning in a shorter, quicker way. It is cheaper and easier to get to the point than a phone call or a voice mail. Because of the limited number of characters (160) that is allowed in a single text, people (testers) have developed a new way of communication called “texts” which shortens what they want to say..
The actual action of testing Is not a linguistic change; however the way the texts are conducted has caused a huge moral panic claiming that texts is destroying our language. Characteristics of such writing are abbreviations mostly shortenings, removal of vowels and letters in words, substitution of words with numbers like 4 for “for” and 2 for “too” and “to”. Also acronyms have been developed to be substituted by phrases such as ASAP (As Soon As Possible) and even more slang language Like LAMA (Laughing My Ass Off).Another important characteristic of texts Is that most abbreviations’ are written phonetically or according to a person’s style of speaking or accent. What will follow is an explanation of shortening strategies that are found in testing, explained by Passenger (n.
): a) Initialing is a strategy of shortening where the first letter of more than one word is used. We can have acronyms where the initials are pronounced as one word, and alphabetize where the initials are pronounced letter by letter. Examples from testing: LOG CUE. B) Clipping Is when parts of a word are deleted not Examples from testing: getting-getting, body-birthday. ) Letter/Number-Homophones are the most common strategies used in testing. This is when numbers and letters have the same pronunciation with words or some parts of words and replace them.
Examples from testing: b-be, c-see, err-later, 2-to or too, 4-for. ) Phonetic spelling is when a word is shorter than the original word but still have the same pronunciation. Examples from testing : unite-night e) Word value characters are composed by different characters that can stand as whole words Examples from testing: x-kiss, ox- hugs and kisses, &- and, @ -at. ) Accent Sterilizations is when a word is written exactly in the way one pronounces it according to their style of speaking or accent. Examples from testing : woman- want to, Dunn-don’t know, data-that, DOD-though g) Onomatopoetic spelling is when characters imitate sounds in everyday life. Examples from testing : haw-represents laughing, jazz-represents sleeping or tired As I have already mentioned above, the English language has changed since it was first developed until today.What we must say is that in every single change that occurred it is in our nature as human beings to criticize and find the advantages and disadvantages it lays upon our language.
Negative criticism is made especially by individuals who are very protective over their language and are against anything that is different to the standard form of English. It would be strange if testing would not e criticized negatively since it is nothing close to proper English as some claim.When testing started to be used in a very big amount by teenagers almost every day, every single hour, a debate emerged and consequently the media was bombarded with the big effect that testing causes to the young generation as well as the fear that testing will destroy the English language. What scares most people is that the phenomenon of testing has developed in a very radical period of time. According to research “testing has gripped the imagination of the I-J in a very short space in time ND already has its own language, its own etiquette and its own humor” (Baker 2002 cited in Crystal (2008).
Beginning with the negative criticism against testing, an event that occurred in a school, where a student handed in an essay written in texts triggered a universal panic on the way testing can affect language. According to Crystal(2008) ” a huge popular mythology has grown up, in which exaggerated and distorted accounts of what youngsters are believed to do when they text has fuelled prophecies of impending linguistic disaster” (Crystal,2008 p. 7). Since 2007 a massive number of articles have been criticizing testing. One of the most shocking is John Humphreys, I ha megs: How testing is wrecking our language, published in 2007 by Mail.John goes on by claiming that testers are “destroying” our language, “pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary.
And they must be stopped. Another writer wrote in his report that “The English language as we once knew it is out of the window’ and claims that it is replaced by a “hip” and “cool slang- induced language”. John Sutherland in his article called “CNN u txt? ” published in November 2002 by the Guardian claims that testing is “bleak, bald, sad shorthand. Drab shrink talk. “. Except from the media and Journalists, also a number of scholars believe that testing has a large negative impact on literacy.According to Syria and Allah (2007) testing has a negative effect on proper formal writing, spelling and grammar. Similarly, concerning the same ideology that testing is a bad thing, implications upon it: a) “orthographic negligence reflects the reduction of cognitive resources allocated to spelling; b) transgression of orthography implies deliberate discrepancies; c) angiography is an alternative orthography’.
Regardless the massive mythology the mass media has caused concerning testing, a number of scholars live otherwise.According to Crystal (2008), the Guardian conducted a poem competition but using texts, and the poems that took part actually indicate that not all testers use abbreviations and still had many features of Standard English. Crystal (2008) also points out that not only poetic texts but also texts sent in everyday life have a number of standard features and that people Just tend to abbreviate only grammatical words especially older people who are new to testing. He also talks about a recent research conducted in America and Norway, which show that the ‘hysteria’ caused but the media is for sure misleading.The study in America showed that less than 20% of text messages have abbreviations.
In the study taken in Norway, only 6% of text displayed abbreviated forms. He also says that “Testing has added a new dimension to language use, but its long-term impact is negligible. It is not a disaster. ” And he also points out that in order for one to be able to abbreviate a word they must be aware of the grammar to do so. Also the fact that a massive number of texts are conducted by teenagers is still writing and this must have some positive results.
Moving on, Grandstander (2011) in his dissertation states that a study at theUniversity of Coventry shows that “text-based communication is an improvement in student’s literacy’. An explicit research made by Plaster et al (2009) reveals positive relation between testing and literacy. This study undertaken at University of Coventry, used 88 British 10-12 year olds in order to show how they use testing and how or if it affects their literacy in school. The results of this study showed that “.
. Children’s use of textiles is not only positively associated with word reading ability but that it may be contributing to reading development in a way that goes beyond simple phonologically based explanations. Plaster et al 2009, p. 1 55 ) Plaster (2009) also explains that most young children’s texts are formed with phonetic abbreviations and this shows that children have this phonological and orthographical awareness in order to read and comprehend what is said in a text. We can say that if someone can abbreviate something that they are aware of the correct and original form thus testing does not affect literacy it actually indicates that children are aware of grammatical rule and English language.Also a study made by Throw (2003) showed a creative communicative ability instead of corruption of language. Testing is used by people especially teenagers in order to communicate with each other and the abbreviations are not something very new since people used them in other forms like notes on the fridge. As Throw (2003) explains teenagers in their texts write in the way they speak so the language they use is comprehensible for the function of communication.
If they can understand each other, and convey the massage they want to send to the other person then what is the problem?At first I wanted to collect data from testers, however it was very hard to do so since not a lot of people were comfortable to share their text messages with a stranger even though I ensured them that they would stay confidential. So I have decided to design a short questionnaire including samples of testing and relevant questions concerning their acceptability. A sample of my questionnaire is provided in appendix 1. Participants: In this study I have used 19 informants from a variety of ages. The age groups are as follow: 14-18, 19-23, 25-29, 30-35 and 37-42.The reason I have chosen to use these age groups is because I wanted to find out the different opinions teenagers and adults have concerning text messaging.
ANALYSIS: As I have expected, from the data collected participants over the age of 30 had active opinion regarding testing and the younger were more positive even though some did state that testing does affect somehow their literacy. A participant over the age of 40 stated that he never uses testing and string beliefs that it does affect literacy whereas adults that were around 30 to 35 used testing but not to the extent teenagers did.What was more interesting was that it seemed that participants that were between the ages of 20 to 25 claimed that they do not text as much as they used to now that they are at university.