Texting and Writing Essay

Table of Content

The rapid advancement of information and communication technology has led a huge proportion of the world population, especially the teenagers, to spend long hours on texting and chatting. The language used in such conversations vary significantly from the established standards of English. Opinions vary about the positive and negative impacts of texting on the academic writing and performance of the students. This paper aims to perform a comparative analysis of two such articles – Turn Teen Texting Towards Better Writing by Justin Reich and Does Texting Affect Writing? by Michaela Cullington.

The first article by Reich is heavily dependent upon personal experiences and opinions coupled with a few strong and reliable secondary resources like ‘Pew Internet & American Life Project and the College Board’, while Cullington’s study is dependent upon a vast array of secondary resource articles which brings to light the existing literature on the concerned topic, followed by a survey conducted across a wide cross-section of teachers and students.

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Both agree to the fact that the language of texting is informal and involves vehement use of abbreviations, thereby departing from the codes of standard written language. Through research and personal experiences, both have found that students unanimously agree to this difference and believe that in academia, a formal writing approach is essential for educational growth and should not include text messaging techniques like the use of abbreviations within their corpus.

However, unlike Reich, Cullington presents a more detailed account of the binaries in the perceptions and opinions of teachers as well as researchers regarding the how text language, commonly called ‘textspeak’ influences the written language of students, especially teenagers, in their academic realms (CULLINGTON). One portion of the literature presents the opinions of many teachers who believe that students have a growing habit of using acronyms and abbreviations in their writing, along with wrong usage of punctuation marks, which has led to a significant decline of their writing abilities. Some also believe that such language may be accepted in speech, but not in academic writing. The use of emoticons hinder their ability to use language. Another section argues that language of texting is a time-saver and facilitates creativity. It helps those who struggle with the conventional modes of formal writing to express themselves better. Constant engagement with texting reflects an innate knack for writing, which, if channelized properly can help teenagers to develop their social and communication skills better through formal writing as well. It is precisely this last point around which Reich’s arguments circulate, which will be elaborated in the next paragraph. In spite of such differing opinions in anecdotal evidences, she arrives at the conclusion that text language does not interfere with the written language, much in line with the actual evidence the author received from the survey and findings.

As mentioned above, from the very beginning Reich tries to focus on how the students’ informal writing abilities can be transferred to the classroom and harness intellectual and formal writing skills. The author believes that the students like to engage in social interactions in an online classroom where they can chat and come up with ideas through informal conversations. However, the students are to assimilate these ideas and write answers in a formal language, because they would otherwise be downgraded. In this way, the writing skills of the students can be improved, by welcoming informal conversation, which the students enjoy, within the premise of a formal academic setup. The author aligns the knack of writing within the teenagers with the diary entries of American Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau, thus focusing on the immense academic potential of the teenagers, which, if guided in the right direction, can be channelized into the production of good formal writing, thereby developing the intellectual quotient of the youth (Reich).

Thus, while on one hand, Cullington argues that academic language is independent of formal written English, although there are opposing anecdotal evidences, Reich proposes solutions where both can work together for the enhancement of language and writing abilities.

Therefore, it may be concluded by saying that the individual opinions of both Reich and Cullington are correlative and aimed at harnessing the potential of the informal text language into the academic discipline of a formal language. One possible ground for rejection of the informal language may be ascribed to the fact that some of the abbreviations may be subjective and hence appears as jargons to others, thereby lacking universality. Nevertheless, they open up pathways for a more nuanced approach to learning and broadens the sphere of English language.

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