Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Article: Texting teenagers are proving 'more literate than ever before'

The Times reports:

Fears that text messaging may have ruined the ability of teenagers to write properly have been shown to be unfounded after a two-year study revealed that youngsters are more literate than ever before.
Makes sense to me. People who think texting will reduce literacy often seem to do so on the grounds of poor spelling and the heavy use of abbreviations, which are pretty superficial and fairly irrelevant matters as far as true literacy is concerned.

And it's not so surprising that it would improve literacy, since writing is a skill, and the more practice you get, the better you get at it. And in texting those skills are often exercised with content that is non-trivial to express -- describing events, thoughts on things, social interactions, etc.


  1. Would be interested to know: if the technology hadn't limited us to such short messages, would the language have still evolved. People are still busy, typing in movie queues etc.


  2. hi michael,
    my guess is that it would have, simply because it's fairly tedious typing messages with the keypad, so there's an incentive for more efficient -- in terms of number of characters -- communication.