The use of abbreviations and forms used in emails and text messages is often criticised as something that students should not be encouraged to use, or even be recognised as admissible language use. There was an extreme example in the UK where a student handed in a composition that was entirely written in text message form. It reached the newspapers because the student felt she should be allowed to submit in this manner.
A text of any length in this form would actually be harder to read than if written in natural English, However, students learning English often find them easy to use and pick them upquickly. Using '8' to represent the sound is regular and avoids the spelling difficulties that plague English.
Student will also see them used a lot, so it might seem strange to insist on describing them as errors or inappropriate when native speakers use them, the same way that older teaching methods like the Direct Method insisted on students using complete sentences to answer questions, even though native speakers often don't.
While formal language is almost certainly not going to accept 'l8r' in my lifetime, I think think that allowing students to use them might make them more confident about writing and they could be a form of interlanguage,with the standard forms being taught on top and alongside them.
Categories: General Topics