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Texting affects language and grammar skills: study

This definitely is not a LOL matter! According to a new research by an Indian-origin professor, text messaging could lead to declining language and grammar skills in tweens.

The research by S Shyam Sundar from Pennsylvania State University and colleagues from Northwestern University found that the use of shortcuts while texting may hinder a tween’s ability to switch between techspeak and the normal rules of grammar.

When tweens or those between the age group of 10 to 12 write in techspeak, they often use shortcuts, such as homophones, omissions of non-essential letters and initials, to quickly and efficiently compose a text message.

“They may use a homophone, such as gr8 for great, or an initial, like, LOL for laugh out loud,” Drew Cingel from Northwestern University said in a statement. “An example of an omission that tweens use when texting is spelling the word would, w-u-d,” Cingel said.

Cingel gave middle school students in a central Pennsylvania school district a grammar assessment test. They also passed out a survey that asked students to detail their texting habits, such as how many texts they send and receive, as well as their opinion on the importance of texting. The researchers also asked participants to note the number of adaptations in their last three sent and received text messages.

“Overall, there is evidence of a decline in grammar scores based on the number of adaptations in sent text messages, controlling for age and grade,” Cingel said.

“Not only did frequent texting negatively predict the test results, but both sending and receiving text adaptations were associated with how poorly they performed on the test,” according to Sundar from Penn State’s Media Effects Research Laboratory. The research was published in journal New Media & Society.

“In other words, if you send your kid a lot of texts with word adaptations, then he or she will probably imitate it,” Sundar said. “These adaptations could affect their off-line language skills that are important to language development and grammar skills as well,” Sundar said. (PTI)

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