Technology and Language Change (Blog post 4 of 4)

The article “GR8 news: We’re entering a new era of literacy” by Erin Anderssen, took an opposite stance on the effects of texting and internet usage compared to Naomi Baron’s article “Whatever”. Do you think texting and a proliferation of online writing has positively or negatively affected your own personal writing, or writing for our generation? Draw your answer from personal examples as well as the readings.

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11 Responses to Technology and Language Change (Blog post 4 of 4)

  1. shmannybumbah says:

    I understand why older generations feel that texting and internet lingo may have a negative effect on our generation. However, I agree with the stance Erin Anderssen takes in her “GR8 news” article. It may look sloppy and lazy when we type out words in abbreviated form, but really, it’s the audience we are writing to. There is no need to punctuate or write in full sentences when commenting on facebook. It is easier and in a way it adds humor to less serious or sarcastic comments. For example, if I saw a photo of a friend dressed up for Halloween as a banana, I would not comment, “Wow, Joe, that is a really cool banana costume you bought yourself for Halloween. I hope you had a lot of fun and enjoyed your experiences while wearing it!” I would probably comment something like, “Nice banana bro.” It is just unnecessary on social networking sites to always use proper grammar. This doesn’t mean that we don’t know how to use grammar; we use proper grammar when it is appropriate. “A heightened sense of audience is perhaps the largest change that the internet has brought to the written word.” (Anderssen) In our society, we know how to appeal to different audiences—that is all. We have not dismantled authority; we do not write “JK LOLZ” on college essays; we simply are writing to our audience as appropriate. If anything, online writing has given us more practice with spelling, typing and reading. It’s a new generation of technology, you whether keep up with it or fall behind.

  2. KT@Pitt says:

    I completely agree with shmannybumbah, and I think she/he used a great example. We communicate differently on Facebook than we do in formal essays or letters. I do not think online writing and/or texting has negatively affected my formal writing skills at all. When I write, I keep my audience in mind; although, I know this may not apply to all students. Last semester, my professor gave a lecture about student emails. She said she was continuously receiving emails that included many grammatical errors and even poor manners. In my opinion, this problem does not relate to texting or Internet writing. Students who make this error probably just forget their audience. It is not that they do not know how to write formally, but they are so used to informal emails to friends and family that they apply the same rules to professors. Making this distinction is critical, and I believe the majority of college students are capable of fixing this issue. As Anderssen points out in GR8 news, “Young people may not be writing so badly after all, and, in fact, their prose is evolving in some promising ways” (1). I agree with Anderssen, and I also feel like high school and college students use this “texting lingo” a lot less than older generations perceive. In fact, in my experience, when I text my older family members, they are the ones to use texting abbreviations like “u”, “b4”, etc. My friends and I usually text in complete sentences without abbreviated words. I looked up a list of texting terms, and realized my friends use very few of these, if any at all. I have included the link below. Do the people you text use this type of language?

  3. lauren16 says:

    I think that texting and online writing has affected the way we write today, but I agree with Erin Anderssen that this form of writing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think that online blogs have actually given more people the chance to write than ever before. Anderssen’s study at Stanford produced the results that students “write more on their own time, their school essays are longer, their voices are more attuned to the people who will read their words.” With more opportunities to write without the pressure of turning it in for a grade, students are becoming more interested in writing and doing more of it. The possibility that anyone can read their work and that a message the author cares about will be conveyed is even more promising for a student writer. The combination of no these things is responsible for the increase in students writing on their own time. Also, I agree with shmannybumbah that the way we write depends on who our audience is. I know when it is appropriate to use texting language and when I should not. I’m not going to turn in an academic paper sprinkled with acronyms like “lol” or “Gr8”. Just like I speak differently to my friends than I do to a professor, I write differently on face book than I would in an essay. The important thing to know is when it’s okay to use informal language, and when it’s not.

  4. DrSeuss says:

    Like many of my fellow bloggers have pointed out, just because we don’t always write with proper grammar does not mean that we don’t know how to. It’s all a matter of context, and knowing when to use what. When I hear that students let an “LOL” slip into one of their essays, I sometimes have a difficult time believing it. Writing a paper for school is absolutely nothing like sending a text message to your friend. When a student is being graded on the content of their work, they are much more aware of the words they are using and I know that they understand which ones are and are not acceptable. These two forms of writing are very distinct, but it’s important to remember that just because one of them may be more prevalent in our lives does not mean that we don’t know how to do the other.

    In fact, informal writing has certainly made me a stronger writer. When I post a status on Facebook or tweet something on Twitter, my words are going out to a live audience. I am always conscious as to who may be reading it and what they may find funny. In fact, the reason many of us shorten our words in the first place is because you can’t always say what you want to 140 characters or less. Our generation is constantly putting their thoughts out there for the world to see, but I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. Technology has given us the outlet to express ourselves, and as long as we have the skills to harness those thoughts into a well-written college essay then I think that that feeling of freedom we get outweighs any detrimental effects that may exist.

  5. KateG says:

    I similarly agree with those above that I can see how our generation may be perceived as being negatively affected by texting and the internet, however I disagree with this. As we discussed today in class, there are more of us who do not abbreviate during texts, which is a common fallacy. Especially with today’s smartphones, abbreviating is actually hard to do. Personally, I find myself writing full sentences with punctuation while texting and emailing, catering my writing style to the audience I am writing to, and I definitely find myself writing more outside of class.

    In the article we read this week, Andrea Lunsford writes, ” For this generation, writing is performative. It gets up off the pages, walks off and does something” (2). I believe that texting and internet usage heavily influences this. Both personally, and as a generation, I think we are very concerned with who we are speaking to, for what reason, and how to best deliver our message when we are writing. Whether it be on Facebook, a blog, a comment on a news article, etc., I think many of us write with purpose. Yes, there may be an increase in spelling mistakes (Anderssen, 3), but this isn’t anything new, so why is it a valid counterpoint? I think that in the technologically advanced world we live in, it’s smart of our generation to begin expressing ourselves in various media outlets.

  6. Tim Tebow says:

    In my opinion, online writing and texting has had no negative effect on my writing. Like KateG, I disagree with the assumption that our generation is being negatively affected by texting and online writing. Unlike others in the class, I still use abbreviations when I text or talk to someone on facebook. The way and reason “kids today” write is the main change, in my opinion. We are writing for an audience, not just for a class. For this reason, I think that our writing has been that much better. I’m not sure if people think that students can tell the difference between formal writing and text lingo, but we can. We know when we can use abbreviations and how to correctly form a sentence. In class we even discussed how most people write in full sentences when they are talking to their friends anyway, so this affect may not even be as serious as some think. When we post on facebook or twitter, even this blog, we want our ideas to be coherent and understood. We don’t want to just sloppily put a work out in public for everyone to see and have them question our intelligence. This reason alone makes us better writers. We want to use proper grammar, spell words the right way and use correct English for our points to be taken seriously. For example, I make it a point to email professors basically like I’m writing a letter. In contrast, if I have to email my friends or someone I know I won’t even think about the style of my writing, I just want my point to get across. Writing styles will always change, it is the individuals’ choice as to how much it will affect their lives.

  7. blogposter2012 says:

    Every time I type a paper I notice that I found myself typing “u” to represent the pronoun “you” or “n” to represent the conjunction “and” and then within seconds going back and deleting. I have to consciously remind myself that I am writing an academic paper which does not allow for the usage of short hand notation. Although I make these minor mistakes and recognize them on my own because I know better “than to drop text speak into a class paper” (Anderson 1). I also think that texting has allowed me to be more conversational in my papers. Writing doesn’t just occur in school assignments but now I have to think about it constantly through texting, and emailing or posting statuses. I learn different styles for different scenarios which is something that is hard to be taught to do.

    One of the major things overall that has definitely affected my writing is technology or more specifically, spell check and Microsoft. I used to think that I was a great speller but now I have become so dependent on a little red line showing up under a word to tell me how to spell certain words or a green line to help me add commas. I think this has contributed to spelling accounting for “6 per cent of errors” in papers that Anderson describes.

  8. babetheox says:

    Looking over the other posts, there seems to be a general consensus that texting and internet language have not had the drastically negative effect on literacy and writing for our generation. As Eric Anderssen highlights in “GR8 news: We’re entering a new era of literacy,” today’s students write for a wider variety of reasons. In the article, he posits, “…while 25 years ago, the most common assignment was a personal narrative, first-year students today are most often assigned papers requiring a thesis and sources – and consequently, Prof. Lunsford concludes, more ‘higher-order thinking skills and complexity.’” As university students today, everyone has doubtlessly encountered the sorts of academic writing expected in college courses, but our generation’s exposure to the internet and rapid publishing has ensured that we adapt various other writing skills as well.

    As an editor for a university publication who focused for a year on editing for our publication’s web venue, I feel that internet writing has changed the way we write for the better. Rather than stunt our literacy and writing skills, web writing has taught members of my generation to adapt to a multitude of writing styles. As Dr. Seuss posted, “…just because we don’t always write with proper grammar does not mean that we don’t know how to. It’s all a matter of context, and knowing when to use what.” Voice is difficult to establish in an academic writing course, yet every day we adopt different voices to suit our various forms of communication, be it a blog post for school, a paper, a short story, a nonfiction article, review, etc. In addition, Web culture enforces a sort of established agreement on correctness. Far from prescriptive grammar, web culture requires the same sort of standards that real-life culture requires; in other words, you’re probably not going to enter into a political debate via the comments section of an article a friend posted without formulating an argument… Unless you expect to be instantly rebutted.

  9. jay_leu says:

    As most of my peers would tend to agree, I `believe that my encounters with texting as well as online writing, although occurring rather frequently, have not caused the quality of my writing to decrease. While I admit that I text probably a bit more than I should, I also feel the need to acknowledge that I am always careful about the grammar within my texts. I always make sure to spell words correctly, capitalize the beginning of my sentences, and implement the proper punctuation. This is probably due to the fact that I am an English Writing major, and these rules are instilled within my mind. I do not, however, think it is a major crisis when people choose to abbreviate within text messages. With this specific scenario, I think it is important for everyone to recall the audience, as well as the purpose, of the standard text message. Typically, when we text we are doing so with our peers. Therefore, there is really no need to be formal. Also, the whole idea of the text message is quick communication. Therefore, it is not really necessary to spell out every word, as long as you are managing to make your point. In my opinion, the text message was created as a means to clarify something as quickly as possible; so if someone manages to relay a clear message at the expense of committing a grammar crime, then so be it. The text message is in no way the equivalent to a college term paper. I believe that students are able to differentiate between the two scenarios; and therefore, know when to use “texting lingo” and when it is no longer appropriate.

  10. jvdub says:

    I think our generation is writing way more than all other generations. If I think of how much I write in one day compared to how much my Dad writes in one day, it’s a huge difference. My writing includes texting, facebooking, tweeting, sorority paper work, and school work. My dad on the other hand has a couple of work related e-mails and notes, along with the occasional text to my mom. Our generation is constantly writing and I think the more you write the better at writing you become. So no I do not think there is a negative effect on our generation. Some may argue that texting uses a different kind of writing that will in turn affect our papers and other writing. However, I do not think I have ever written a paper like this: “T3ch is gr8 4 evry1”. It is easy to turn on and off this style of texting. Also most people do not even use this kind of texting anymore. It is actually becoming more common for our generation to text with proper spelling and grammar .I also do not think online writing and texting has affected my personal writing negatively. If anything I think it helps my writing be more expressive. I am constantly expressing my thought via twitter and other online outlets, so it is easier for me to incorporate personal experiences into my other writings.

  11. BonitaApplebaum says:

    Growing up, children pick up on context clues that allow them to navigate a variety of social contexts. We learn how to dress when we attend a job interview and when we go to a nightclub. We know how to answer the phone when our grandmother calls and when our best friend calls. We learn how to speak to our boss and to our mother. We are taught and we learn these context clues. This is no different for writing. Texting and social media has in no way affected my writing. Andersen even says that students “know better than to drop text-speak into a class paper”. I also agree with shmannybumbah that we speak appropriately in appropriate situations. Not every situation calls for “perfect grammar”. In fact, most situations don’t. Every day conversations, dialogues, and interactions tend to be casual, informal encounters. I don’t walk into class and say, “Hello fellow classmates. How do you do?” I just say, “Hey guys. Whats up?” We’ve learned that writing is a derivative of speech. If this is the case, shouldn’t we speak in text lingo? Shouldn’t we be saying “G2g to class!”? I don’t say “lol” every time I find something humorous. Shorthand conversations and abbreviated words are not the sadistic, anti-grammar, new age tools that they are made out to be. If anything, it is just an evolution of our language. Our culture grows more technologically advanced every day. The diversity in the ways the English language can be used is just an extension of technology. The only way to eradicate “lol” and “omg” is to eradicate the use of the internet and cellular devices. But honestly, who could live without their iPhone?