IM and Texting Strengthen Grammar

‘Cu L8r, gnite tc' might lead someone to believe that texting and instant messaging is bound to ruin everything a child has learnt about the Engli...


‘Cu L8r, gnite tc' might lead someone to believe that texting and instant messaging is bound to ruin everything a child has learnt about the English language since elementary school. But a new research by the University of Toronto shows that texting is actually beneficial for teens to build a strong foundation in grammar by demonstrating a mastery of formal and informal language.

Prof. Tagliamonte, along with undergraduate student Derek Denis studied the conversation logs of 71 Toronto teenagers, and compared their use of language both in speech and while using instant messaging. They concluded that while teens use acronyms, such as "lol" (laughing out loud), they also combine formal language in their messaging. For example, they are more likely to use the word "said" in an instant message rather than "be like." Prof. Tagliamonte assured parents and teachers that they don't need to be concerned that this new medium is corrupting young people's grammar.

The research is being presented tomorrow at the annual meeting of the Linguistics Association of Canada and the United States.

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