For all those teachers out there who think texting by students is killing the Queen’s English, a new book* by “Britain’s most prolific linguist” disagrees.
David Crystal’s “Txtng: the Gr8 Db8” (Oxford) makes two general points: that the language of texting is hardly as deviant as people think, and that texting actually makes young people better communicators, not worse.
Where the naysayers see destruction, Crystal sees growth. He believes in the same theory of evolution for language as some evolutionary biologists do for life: change isn’t gradual.
The effect is similar to what happens when parents yak away to infants or read to toddlers: the more exposure children get to language, by whatever means, the more verbally skilled they become.
Really it’s all about communication and learning to use the appropriate language at the appropriate time.
We need to do a better job of teaching those skills instead of simply dismissing this particular evolution of language.
[* To be published September 1]