Text-speak: language evolution or just laziness?

Pupils are becoming increasingly “bilingual” in English and text-speak, a new study claims. But is it just a simple decline in proper language skills?boy texting

Schoolchildren as young as eight are showing a growing proficiency in bilingualism, according to a recent poll of UK parents and teachers. The only hitch? They’re bilingual in English and “text-speak” – the phonetic or acronymic bites of language such as “L8R” or “LOL.”

What’s more, this text-speak is creeping beyond their smartphones and into pupils’ everyday language. Mencap, a charity for learning disabilities, sponsored a poll of 500 UK parents and teachers. Two-in-three teachers reported that they regularly find text-speak in pupils’ homework. Over three-quarters of parents say they have to clarify the cryptic text-speak in their children’s texts and emails.

Almost all participants surveyed (89 per cent) said that this growing prevalence of text speak is creating a veritable language barrier between themselves and children.

Clearly, these shortened bits of language like “m8” and “b4” aren’t just for concise texting with friends. They are altering the way that children communicate.


About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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