Is Twitter ruining how people write?

Between the tweeting and the texting is a whole generation not learning how to write correctly and are other generations forgetting what they learned? Or worse, do they affect how people think?

Not just Twitter, but the whole Internet is affecting how people write… on the Internet. You shouldn’t worry too much, because it isn’t like kids are using the same language on their school assignments as they are online. Trust me, I would know. Unless someone is really, er, dim, they can tell the difference between when it’s appropriate to write a certain way and when it’s not.

About older generations forgetting what they learned— I’m sure it’s bound to happen without the Internet or with it, as my parents were forgetting how to help me with my homework by the time I was in fifth grade, and that was before they used it. :slight_smile:

Language is always evolving. I don’t like the idea of “the language is getting worse” or “it used to be better”. Centuries from now (if the second coming hasn’t happened by then), people will probably look back and see us as a period of intense grammatical change which made English a more phonetic language. This is probably exactly what English needs to get away from some of its archaic features.

Don’t get me wrong - I love correct grammar. I just don’t think when the grammar changes it should be seen as bad.

I had Mrs. Slessman (r.i.p.) for English back in the late '50s, and I hold her responsible for setting me on the course that eventually made me a good writer. Tweet-speak is not doing the language any good, but it’s too early to say whether or not the damage is permanent. I do wish that we could clone Mrs. Slessman about 100,000 times and install her in every school in the country. Speaking for myself, if I were teaching English, the use of tweet-speak in any formal paper would be an automatic F.

Yes. People are also becoming obnoxious and egoistic, in that they feel compelled to share every detail of their life. Now even politicians are twitting which is not a good thing, considering they should actually be working.

I was a middle school English teacher until last spring. Kids were attempting to write the way they text. I think it can influence writing if teachers do not insist the students correct it.

I think pop culture and the degradation of the education system have been leading people to write poorly for at least the past generation, if not the past two or three.

Texting has destroyed the English language. Twitter is just burying it.

Interestingly enough, I (strive to) use perfect spelling, punctuation, and grammar when I text. It’s when instant messaging, where speed is far more important, that I ignore capitalization and punctuation (I still spell out full words, I can’t bring myself to replace “to” with “2” for example).

Perhaps we will all be speaking “Newspeak” if the world keeps getting dumber and the language keeps devolving.

I think 1984 is pretty standard literature in high school so I assume most people have read it but for those who have not or do not remember, Newspeak is the dumbed down version of English which the govt. forces upon the people in Orwin’s book, 1984. But the funny thing is that this may happen without any government intervention.

I know some school districts have told teachers to not count text-writing against kids when they turn in papers. I have teacher friends who are advocates of this (“How dare you think of stifling their creativity!”), and others who are equally opposed (“How am I supposed to grade a paper if I have no idea what it says?”). I think it’s a huge detriment to the kids to allow this. I have had friends’ kids, younger cousins and text-happy adults on Facebook all tell me they can’t follow/understand a reply I’ve posted because there are too many words, or the words are too long.

To be fair, the character limit for a text message says hi.

I think people are forgetting that text messaging is a form of communication that is known for its speed. I mean, weren’t messages sent via morse code back then just as grammatically incorrect? :shrug:

Bearing in mind textese evolved because no-one figured out how to fit a keyboard into a cellphone - but that’s about to change. See here.

Me 2 :smiley:

This takes me back to last spring when I was teaching language arts. One of my students asked if I text. I said yes. He replied, “I bet you spell everything out.”

I told him indeed I do!

Just for fun, here is some doggerel I wrote in pure textese (every word must be a single letter, number or syllable - OK, I cheat once). Can anyone crack it? To give a clue, it’s called ‘SMS of a Cannibal’.

I M 4 U,
U R 4 T;
U R 2 B A ∏ U C;
& U R N A Q,
4 I 8, B4 U,
22, & U R 23!

I think it’s doing worse ruining how people socialise. What happened to proper friendship?

That’s actually pretty sad. :frowning:

How could an English teacher not correct kids who utilize texting shorthand in a school assignment? :confused:

It’s not just twitter. It’s the general laxity perhaps due in part to shorthands getting out of hand. But the other part is teachers failing to “punish” sloppy grammar and syntax due to the new fads in language teaching that put emphasis on communication and not correctness, which results in sloppy communication due to not following a common set of rules that ensure proper understanding. I can’t help thinking it does come in package with impaired comprehension of the written word and even impaired general logic. It’s so frequent that people don’t understand normal English any more, they sometimes can’t get a relatively simple thought expressed in semi-formal English, nothing fancy, just the language we use here in these forums, for example.

One of the symptoms of our culture that I think Twitter exemplifies perfectly is our growing lack of an ability to think deeply. I notice it on these forums sometimes. A poster will come in and ask a profoundly deep, complex question that great philosophers and theologians have written volumes on throughout the centuries. But unless they receive an answer in 160 characters or less, they’re simply not that interested.

If I can’t fit it on a bumper sticker, it’s not worth believing. :stuck_out_tongue:

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