Texting or SMS has not been around for very long. Since the advent of the mobile phone, people have been sending messages to each other via their phones. The use of these messages soon became so common that people no longer found it feasible to type sentences or words in full before sending them. It was quite a waste of time to type common words over and over again. Thus, short forms were invented for nearly everything.Before we move on to the rest of the article, here is a list of a few words that got squeezed by the SMS language.
• TTYL – talk to you later
• LOL – laughing out loud
• BRB – be right back
• LMAO – laughing my a** off
• Abt – about
• B4 – before
• BFF – best friends forever
• L8R – later
• YOLO – you only live once
One must give credit for the grammar that has developed so rapidly for this new language. The abbreviations are quickly developing and you will find an enormous list of words online that are used only by texters. The youth are quick to incorporate these words in their texts and it becomes common knowledge in no time. Where the English language took years to develop and progress, SMS language is setting record time for the same. However, if you aren’t a regular or one who keeps a tab, you can easily be left behind and find yourself lost among the myriad abbreviations.
In general, you will see that texting is most common among the youth or the younger population. The older population use texting as a service but aren’t as addicted to it or familiar with the SMS language. In fact, most of the elders find it to be a joke that youngsters can write like this. Even those that attempt to learn the SMS language, find it extremely tough.
If you want to learn about the effects of texting on the youth, you have to understand their patterns and lifestyle in relation to the youth 20 years ago or so. Where the youth 20 years ago were still corresponding through letters and occasional phone calls, today everything is more instant with a number of ways to communicate.
SMS language, if you notice, has developed more out of necessity than anything else. Youngsters today prefer texting over calling, which is a more direct method of communication. Most I think shy away from calling and send texts to avoid personal connect. Most likely, the speed at which they text has given rise to the SMS language. There are many linguists who are for and against SMS language and the debate about its effects are ongoing.
Most linguists agree that language is not static. They agree that the English language has developed over the years and will keep changing. Spoken English has changed over the centuries and we can expect it to change in the future. We do not even write like people wrote 100 years ago. In fact, children must be taught to use different ways of communication and employ it aptly in different situations. This is one way to facilitate linguistic development among youngsters. They should know that SMS language can be used informally as a method of communicating through cell phones, whereas the English language should be used in academia to write an essay for instance. This know-how will definitely be beneficial for students and improve their linguistic abilities.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that the English language is being ruined by the SMS language. It is not only taking away the beauty and authenticity of English, which is a language with a rich heritage but also confusing non-native speakers who want to learn English. One study suggested that school children in the 1960s and 1970s were far more literate than school children today. Nowadays, an average school student struggles with basic spellings, grammar and essay writing, which are essential to grasp the language well. It is said that the SMS language has belittled the English language with improper abbreviations and ‘lolz’. This is probably why one critic called SMS language “penmanship for illiterates”.
While the debate between these 2 groups rages on, one can be sure that people today are not going to give up on the SMS language purely because of its convenience and speed. As long as children avoid using ‘pls’ instead of ‘please’ or ‘cul8r’ instead of ‘see you later’ in their exam papers, there may not be much cause for worry.