O.M.G.

Acronym-IQ-Infographic

O.M.G.

To be consistent with my previous blogs, today I thought I would discuss the effects of social media and the use of online chat forums. I do not know if everyone agrees, but it seems to me that the ability for people to properly use punctuation, correct grammar and spelling is decreasing

Personally, I refuse to use most acronyms, except for the most obvious “lol” (when I have no other response). However, when people start using them excessively I lose my ability to understand them. I find myself guessing what they mean and looking up acronyms in urban dictionary. Although the use of acronyms can be handy, they can be also be confusing. As embarrassing as this is, there were a few days where I thought people were misspelling the word lame when sending me “lmao”. I know now that that is not the case, but isn’t online messaging (and I would lump in texting) hard enough without having to decipher the meanings of acronyms as well as the grammatically incorrect sentence structure?

What I find frustrating is not that I cannot understand the people who are talking to me, but and I would argue more importantly, people think I am angry when I message them.  Notably, I respond to a story that took the other person a couple paragraphs to type with only a one or two word answer. Additionally, I may also “sound” angry because I use correct grammar (in most cases) and I do not incorporate “lol” or emoticons enough. In fact, my roommates screen shot a conversation that include me saying okay with a smiley face because it is so rare.

Thinking about my frustration with how others message me got me wondering if text messaging and online chat rooms create academic issues for people typing out essays. Turns out they do. According to a study done by Drew P. Cingel and S. Shyam Sundar, “[the] average sent word adaptation, consisting of abbreviations, letter omissions, and homophones, was found to negatively predict grammar score” (1316). These word adaptations are known as “text speak” or “net lingo”, they are the way in which youths have begun to message that result in less focus on grammar and more focus on getting their message across quickly. Accordingly, English speaking students have a harder time learning proper grammar because they are less likely to use it in everyday life. However, when I was researching the effects of “net lingo” on grammar and spelling I came across some interesting articles that show chat lines facilitate learning English as a second language.

The internet has created an easy way for people to communicate with multiple people at once and to maintain contact with people from all over the world for little cost. However, we must learn how to communicate properly via technology, and that includes properly using spelling and punctuation. If others began to message with proper spelling and grammar there would be less confusion with the emotional context of messages and with the meaning of the message. Additionally, I would sound less angry through technology.

Then again, with advancing technology why learn grammar at all?

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3 responses to “O.M.G.

  1. Hi Alison,

    This was an entertaining post and you definitely point to an interesting ‘side effect’ of technology that is important for us to consider. You’re absolutely right, tons of people use texting, online chat platforms, e-mail and so on to communicate on a daily basis, and in the process, have adapted the way they use spelling and grammer to speed up what is already a fairly fast process. This ‘problem’ you bring up relates to the ‘trade off’ or ‘bargain’ that I like to draw upon in my blog posts, which essentially asks, in gaining something new, what is lost? And I think what you have suggested here is that in the process of gaining access to fast and constant methods of communication, we’ve elected to throw proper spelling and grammer out the window, and I won’t lie, that seems fairly ridiculous.
    The question I have for you is this – do you feel this type of modified speech is appropriate in certain contexts, and not in others? I know you expressed that you aren’t a fan of LOL’s and BRB’s generally, but are you willing to accept it at certain times more than others? Does it depends on who your ‘public’ is?
    Personally, I steer clear of most abbreviations. But this doesn’t mean I NEVER use them. A huge factor for me is who I’m speaking to or who my audience is. I find that interesting and I’d like to hear what you’re thoughts are too.

    Take care,

    Mike

  2. Pingback: An Altered View | A Few Thoughts on Citizen Media·

  3. Hi Mike,
    I am glad you agree that losing spelling and grammar for quicker responses is ridiculous, and you bring up a good question as to if it is appropriate or not in some contexts. I would not say that modified speech is never appropriate because appropriate is not the right word, I would argue, instead, that it is not necessary in most contexts. Obviously abbreviations are not a big deal when texting your friend but we need to know in which situations they are not acceptable, like when using work phones to message your boss or perhaps texting an elder. As is important with most written words we have to be aware of who are audience is.
    Like you, I tend to steer clear of abbreviations but do use them when talking to certain people. You definitely develop a certain language depending on who you are talking to. For example, my roommates love abbreviations and use them in abundance and I have become accustom to responding to them in a similar manner, so they don’t think I “sound” mad. However, when I text my mom I know that she does not use abbreviations and likely does not know what they mean so I write everything out and get straight to my point. It all depends on your audience, but secretly I wish we would get rid of them. English is hard enough without also having to decipher text messages too.

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