Those who cherish the English language in its purest form will have been aghast to hear of the inclusion of text speak abbreviations such as “LOL” into the Oxford Dictionary. ‘LOL’ is claimed as an informal abbreviation for ‘laughing out loud’ or ‘laugh out loud’. This shortening of a phrase is commonplace in texts and online, but many feel that the language these abbreviations replace will eventually be lost.
Some claim that texting isn’t a language as such – it is more of a variant of the spoken language as opposed to the written one. Others feel that texting and short-hand text has as much of a place in our modern language as any syntax.
The Negative View
Those immune to the lure of using shortened words such as “l8r” (later), or “lol” to show amusement, argue that declining standards in education as a whole, not just English, is in part a result of the corruption of the English language from school age onwards.
Recent reports show that the educational standards of those taught in the sixties and seventies were significantly higher than those of today’s generation, particularly in the case of basic skills such as reading, grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The Positive View
Language has been around for over eighty thousand years, but has developed so far since its earliest days that it bears no resemblance to what it once was. Some linguists argue that the trend of using text speak is simply a case of language continuing to develop, as it has for countless centuries.
Evidence of declining standards in schools could be the result of a variety of issues, from the lack of teacher support to the way that discipline is handled in school these days.
This is a language topic which will always be split into firm ‘for’ and ‘against’ camps; however, the middle ground between the two belongs to those who argue the case based on appropriate use.
Social media sites such as Twitter only allow up to one hundred and forty characters per tweet or update. Shortening words and using abbreviations therefore comes naturally and might often be necessary. The same applies to texting, which is designed to be a speedy way to contact someone; many would argue that writing a message in long-hand cancels out the quick response time.
The use of text speak in formal documents, emails, essays and job advertisements, on the other hand, is generally considered inappropriate and perhaps this is where the real issue lies; language being misused rather than ruined.