Gizza txt now!
Texting was and is seen as an enemy of literacy in the young - even if new evidence now supports the opposite view. Two things happened this week to show the limited life span of technologies these days. The Apple i-Phone was launched here to much fanfare. And a group of enterprising Kiwis from Polar Bear Farm in Christchurch wrote software which could soon make texting obsolete…. But back to the debate in the Guardian about the evils or otherwise of text-messaging:
'An extraordinary number of doom-laden prophecies have been made about the supposed linguistic evils unleashed by texting. Sadly, its creative potential has been virtually ignored. But five years of research has at last begun to dispel the myths. The most important finding is that texting does not erode children's ability to read and write. On the contrary, literacy improves. The latest studies (from a team at Coventry University) have found strong positive links between the use of text language and the skills underlying success in standard English in pre-teenage children. The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the most textisms. And the younger they received their first phone, the higher their scores.
Children could not be good at texting if they had not already developed considerable literacy awareness. Before you can write and play with abbreviated forms, you need to have a sense of how the sounds of your language relate to the letters. You need to know that there are such things as alternative spellings. If you are aware that your texting behaviour is different, you must have already intuited that there is such a thing as a standard. If you are using such abbreviations as lol and brb ("laugh out loud" and "be right back"), you must have developed a sensitivity to the communicative needs of your textees. (From the Guardian in a review of Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 is published this week by OUP.
Of big rigs and bigwigs
Was this the same John Banks we wondered as the Auckland Mayor approved of truckloads of dissent rolling into the city streets earlier this month? Wasn't this the same guy who had water protesters thrown out of the Council Chambers in his first unfortunate term some five years ago?
Two-thirds of U.S. undergraduates now score above average on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, up 30% since 1982, American author Mark Bauerlein reports.
It's measure of self absorption and his book 'The Dumbest Generation' puts much of the blame on the Internet:
He worries about the nature of the Internet itself, where people "seek out what they already hope to find, and they want it fast and free, with a minimum of effort." In entering a world where nobody ever has to stick with anything that bores or challenges them, "going online habituates them to juvenile mental habits."
Reviewing his book the LA Times says: 'And all this feeds on itself. Increasingly disconnected from the "adult" world of tradition, culture, history, context and the ability to sit down for more than five minutes with a book, today's digital generation is becoming insulated in its own stultifying cocoon of bad spelling, civic illiteracy and endless postings that hopelessly confuse triviality with transcendence'. A wake up call to boomer grandparents?
Last month, a worldwide survey was conducted by the UN.
The only question asked was:
'Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the
food shortage in the rest of the world?'
The survey was a huge failure because....:
In Africa they didn't know what 'food' means.
In Eastern Europe they didn't know what 'honest' means.
In Western Europe they didn't know what 'shortage' means.
In China they didn't know what 'opinion' means.
In the Middle East they didn't know what 'solution' means.
In South America they didn't know what 'please' means.
In the USA they didn't know what 'the rest of the world' means