Article Gr8


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.

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1 Comment

I am increasingly tempted to say BTW, IMO and others in "real" conversation. BTW is snappier and faster than "By the way". If I have to write a snail mail I have to stop myself dotting the pages with smileys. We've adopted so many "easier" and shorter ways of expression. ASAP used to be "as soon as possible", then became "Ay-Ess-Ay-Pee" , and now just "asap". The internet is inexorably changing the way we interact, and the way we live. Receiving a snail mail was apparently the highest psychological moment of the day. Now, if I have to write one, it is unbelievably hard and may take up to an hour so that it's a pleasure for me to receive one, but an awful slog to write one.
I've noticed also that since I started to "net" more that my usually good spelling has deteriorated. I'm not sure why.
Can " English" co-exist and survive with internet shorthand? Next year will it be acceptable to say "BTW"? Will we become abbreviation speakers?

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