Language Rules

Definately Fixing Alot Of Americas Grammar 1 Word At A Thyme

txt spk, language, education

with 8 comments

ive wanted to write a post in txt spk for quite sum time now. not totally txt spk so u cant read it at all, but just 1 where i can shorten things n see how it looks. u c, ive been in correspondance lately with a woman frm sweden who lives in london and who ive been wanting to help get on a translation course.

ive noticed a few things about her which id like to share here, maybe to get a better understanding of her (once ive written it all down).

first of all, in all her emails and msn etc she only uses txt spk. i.e. even if its a written document its just txt speak, not ‘real’ English. its not over the top teenage txt spk, but for instance all the time she uses u to say ‘you’ n stuff like that, so u can still read it but its certainly linguistically wrong! i havent challenged her about it as its quite a touchy subject i think. i mean wot am i gonna say? eh babe can u actually use proper language?

the spk she uses is not totally txt spk, but a weird form of standard english with loads of txt abbreviations thrown in. here are sum of the characteristicsn of her language:

  • shortening of words via contraction, often: omission of vowels (example: ‘some’ – ‘sum’; ‘you’ – ‘u’; ‘would’ – ‘wud’)
  • poor vocabulary (sum stats of the average use of vocabulary wud b useful here, i.e. how many different words an average spker of English uses)
  • poor punctuation (very little understanding of puncutation rules; often, ommision of punctuation mark even tho theyre required)
  • absence or incorrect use of apostrophe’s (e.g. it’s will always be written as its, while other times the apostrophe is placed incorrectly)
  • general spelling mistakes (alot of spelling mistakes, indicating poor grasp of english)
  • absense of structure (longer emails lack structure an its difficult to comprehend what she means sumtimes)
  • use of lowercase ‘i’ – she always uses lowercase ‘i’, never uppercase

the funny thing is that she does strike me as quite intelligent, only her language is so rotten and messy that i really dont know if its improvable or not, i.e. within an educational context. theres been stuff on the news where teachers at secondary school get assignments written in half txt speak and thats what it must look like.

id luv to be able to help her somehow but dont think i can. ive always taken it for granted that ppl know how to write relatively well, but maybe thats because ive only ever corresponded with those that can. maybe its me being snobbish, but it does somewhat illustrate the importance of a gud education imho.

the reason why i wanted to write this post in txt spk (yes, all the errors are intentionel :P ) is to demonstrate that language, to me, is very adaptable to whatever u want it to do. its not a reflection of any exterior reality. its a tool that u can use in all sorts of contexts, and the way u use it conveys a lot of information about u. so, use it wisely. use txt speak if u want n it makes ur life easier, but remember to switch back to proper English if u want to make urself understood.

Written by lenina

2007 May 15 at 11:46

8 Responses

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  1. You might want to run a spell-check for blog entries that criticize other people’s grammar/spelling. “omission”


    2007 Jun 10 at 23:06

  2. you might want to read the blog post properly before criticising it:

    “(yes, all the errors are intentionel :P )”


    2007 Jun 11 at 16:22

  3. The worst grammar I have ever come across is undoubtedly on my local free-cycle mailing list. Some examples here (where people post them and “make fun” of the posters):

    I’ve had (older) co-workers use txt spk all the time with me when they are new to email or IM. I figure it’s because they can’t type that fast and are trying to keep up and maybe they don’t know any better?


    2007 Jun 13 at 12:43

  4. We use text speak to make ourselves understood, too. It’s used in informal online communication for a specific purpose, and I don’t see what’s wrong with it in that context. It makes sense for text messaging on mobile phones, since you are limited by the message length and the screen size.


    2007 Jun 13 at 14:13

  5. Very nice text, and observation!

    I guess the issue with txt spk, as well as with language itself, is all about context. People should be aware of when and where it is appropriate to use this or that language or spelling.

    Something that came to my mind while I was reading your text is about foreign languages. I am a non-native speaker of English, and I love learning new languages – probably, English is my favorite – and I must tell you how pleased I feel when I can use slang, a new expression, or simply any new word in English. Not to mention txt spk. That makes one feel like, “Wow! My English is improving!” It’s a feeling like, “I can do more than what’s in the books” – because the books bring you only the so-called ‘formal language’. So, being able to use informal language is kind of an indicator of how fluent, ‘smooth’ you can be in a language.

    Maybe that’s what happens with your Swedish friend – maybe she thinks it’s cool to do so and is proud of it. But, unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to know when to stop, when it is not appropriate to do so.

    Well, that’s what I think.
    THX 4 sharin dis w/us. ;D


    2007 Oct 30 at 20:58

  6. Loved this last comment!


    2007 Dec 27 at 19:52

  7. “We use text speak to make ourselves understood, too. It’s used in informal online communication for a specific purpose, and I don’t see what’s wrong with it in that context. It makes sense for text messaging on mobile phones, since you are limited by the message length and the screen size.”

    “We use text speak to make ourselves understood, too.” That’s the problem right there. A lot of the time a person cannot understand the text speak.

    It’s fine with cellphones. That’s where it originated. Otherwise, a person should have the time to spell out the words in an e-mail or msn. If they don’t know how to spell the word they’re trying to type, look it up.

    Life is fast, but it’s not that fast.
    You’ve heard of the old saying.. Stop and smell the roses.

    Well, I’ve come up with one that fits this day and age… Stop and type the words out.


    2008 Aug 25 at 04:10

  8. There is another way to look at this. In a similar context to the comment about texting being a shortcut (Phones, tweets, FB, etc.) where characters are limited, punctuation and capitalization take up space; there is the consideration Edward Tufte suggests, that we don’t need a complete layout of information, but links to further information in a succinct format. A “one-pager” or a website homepage, for example. People in general are smarter than we give them credit for, and(he posits)can figure it out. However, even with the most artfully crafted emails, i have found there is still room for huge misinterpretation. So the debate continues.

    Sherry B.

    2013 Jun 2 at 09:32

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