Change is inevitable. For as long as we can remember, the English language is something that has been a part of a continuous chain of change. Words that were once considered intolerable by society has become more accepted and tolerable within our communities present-day. With that being said, a great deal of the reason why our English language is constantly changing is because of the heavier use society is putting on their technological devices.
These devices allow for greater margins of innovation within languages and also provides both beneficial and detrimental effects on heavy users. With the continuous rise in technology, a large part of our society relies on their phones, tablets, etc., for the purpose of communication, more specifically through text-messaging and other forms of internet language.
When individuals establish a habit of turning to their technological devices for their primary form of communication, this is where it can be seen where it has the most negative effects. Throughout this paper, it will be recognized how texting and other forms of internet languages, have an effect on language; more precisely through literacy, communication, and expression.
As time continues to progress, there is no doubt that society continues to put more of a heavy use on their mobile devices, more specifically for the use of texting. When individual’s rely on their technological device substantially, there can be a negative impact on that person’s literacy skills.
Even though we go through our everyday lives using our phones mostly for the purpose of communication, often times we really don’t realize how much it can affect our language abilities. The age group that is primarily affected by this is adolescents. This is because the adolescent brain hasn’t fully developed yet and is in the process of still learning new things (Dominguez, 2016). For example, when an adolescent is constantly doing something, their brain picks up on it and sees it as normal behaviour. This can be related back to literacy as our brains are used to the internet language we are using on a daily basis.
Often times, when we text or use other forms of internet languages, the level of syntax and morphology in our conversation decrease quite substantially. Syntax is “the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language” (Oxford Dictionaries). Additionally, morphology is the “study of the internal construction of words” (Britannica, 2016). The key to truly understanding a piece of writing relies on how well the use of syntax and morphology is used in academia or other forms of professional writing.
On the other hand, we can also see a low quality of the use of syntax and morphology in our text messages or on other social media platforms. Constantly employing the poor use of syntax and morphology in text-messaging can have a negative effect on the English language. One of the biggest areas that can be seen where text-messaging has affected the use of syntax and morphology in student literacy.
With that, it is important to note that in the internet language, there is a great deal of the use of textese, which “refers to the language used in text-messaging”, and textisms, which “are the orthographically unconventional language forms that characterize textese” (El-Saghir, 2015). Furthermore, textisims can have multiple categories, these included: initialisms, omissions, emoticons, non-standard spelling and a difference in accent stylization.
In a study conducted, it was noted that “textism density in text messages was significantly and negatively related to reading an spelling” (El-Saghir, 2015). What this means is that texters who participate in the frequent use of textisms, tend to score on a lower level of the standardized literacy ability. Furthermore, it was found that the relationship between text-messaging and reading and spelling did not depend on the quantity of how much was being texted, rather it was the textisms that were being used.
Another linguistic ability that can be greatly compromised thorugh the excessive use of texting and internet language is phonology. Phonology “is the study of how sounds are organized and used in natural languages” (Glossary of Linguistic Terms, 2017). A study conducted by Joan Lee concluded that “…those who texted more were less accepting of new words. On the other hand, those who read more traditional print media such as books, magazines, and newspapers were more accepting of the same words” (University of Calgary, 2012).
In addition to this, through many of our social media platforms, even in our direct messaging, we are limited to certain amount of characters to express what we want to say. Most times, when typing out a long message, majority of that message or point of view you are trying to express won’t ‘fit’ the character count that you are limited to When this happens, the ideas of reinforcing textese comes into play here; that is, through the deletion of certain characters in words (Mickiewicz , 2007).
Moreover, this can also create a problem of expression. A common place where individuals go to express their thoughts that require a substantial amount of space is Twitter. Some might argue that limiting an individual’s character count teaches the lesson of being succinct, while others might argue that it is not right to put a constraint on someone’s voice. As both perspectives offer compelling points, it fails to recognize that limiting a person’s character count pushes them towards the use of texisims, which is where it can to affect their literacy abilities.