Teens' texting not so gr8 for grammar skills

'Tech-speak,' the language of the text message

A new study shows that rampant use of text-messaging shorthands could be undermining adolescents' grammar skills.

Researchers analyzed the results from surveys and standardized language tests completed by more than 228 middle school students between the ages of 10 and 14 in central Pennsylvania. The study found a correlation between the more the students embraced texting shorthand and poorer English grammar skills.

Study author Shyam Sundar, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, says "[the results] suggest that kids who are using a lot of word adaptations while texting… are unable to switch sufficiently back to proper grammar and spelling when not texting."

"Tech-speak" often omits non-essential letters or replaces them with modern-day homophones—words and characters that sound alike—for example, using the figure "2" to signify the word "to," or "gr8" to signify the word "great." The language also relies on abbreviations and acronyms, including "LOL," short for "laughing out loud" (Mozes, HealthDay, 8/8; Atwood, Baltimore Sun, 8/8).

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