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Txtng (2008) is a bold endorsement of texting as an effective and creative – and even poetic – form of communication. These blinks offer a look at how the unique language of text messaging came to life and why critics of texting’s inventive shorthand need to calm down, stop worrying and learn to love the SMS.

  • Avid texters who are proud of the creative language they use
  • Emoticon lovers who want to get more creative with their smileys
  • Linguists who are confused about the language of texting

David Crystal is a linguistics professor based at Bangor University. He specializes in Shakespearean studies as well as the history and development of the English language. In addition to numerous articles about language, he is also the author of Just a Phrase I’m Going Through and The Fight for English.

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Txtng

The gr8 db8

By David Crystal
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Txtng: The gr8 db8 by David Crystal
Synopsis

Txtng (2008) is a bold endorsement of texting as an effective and creative – and even poetic – form of communication. These blinks offer a look at how the unique language of text messaging came to life and why critics of texting’s inventive shorthand need to calm down, stop worrying and learn to love the SMS.

Key idea 1 of 8

Some critics see the new SMS language as a threat to proper English.

If you have a cell phone, there’s a good chance that using it to make phone calls is a secondary function – and that when it beeps or buzzes, more often than not, it’s an incoming text message.

Since 2000, the use of text messages as a way to communicate has skyrocketed.

In 2001, 12.2 billion text messages were sent in the United Kingdom alone. While that might seem like a lot, that had number exploded by 2007. Forty-five billion texts were sent that year.

To financial analysts, these numbers translate into big money, and, in 2005, the worth of the SMS business was estimated at $70 billion.

Of course, this isn’t limited to any one area. By 2007, there were more cell-phone subscriptions in places like Sweden, Hong-Kong and Italy than there were people living in the country, which means some people owned two or more cell phones.

Even areas where cell phones were scarce started catching up. Africa grew the fastest, with cell phone usage climbing from 6 percent to 21 percent between 2003 and 2007.

This cell-phone boom ushered in a new texting language, which relies on creative shorthand and abbreviations. Some people have suggested that this new language is ruining standard written English.

Professor Crispin Thurlow is a linguist who has collected numerous reports from US newspapers that point to a significant amount of adults who feel that the language of texting has morally corrupted society.

One report, from a 2007 Washington newspaper, blames the abbreviations and colloquialisms of text messages for ruining the way people use the English language. And this is just one of many similar articles.

That same year, in the Daily Mail, UK broadcaster John Humphrys called texting a “rape” of the English vocabulary. He called abbreviations like “IMHO U R GR8” completely incomprehensible.

For the record, that’s short for: “In my humble opinion, you are great.”

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