Txting makes u stupid

February 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Wikipedia Commons)

Yeah, you knew that already. How else to explain the zombies who text while driving or randomly jaywalking in traffic, AGKWE*?

But now there’s a reason: they have a tiny vocabulary.


Or so says says University of Calgary linguistics researcher Joan Lee, who interviewed texters in research for her master’s thesis. Texting is associated with rigid linguistic constraints that caused students to reject many of the words that non-texters knew, she found.

“Textisms represent real words which are commonly known among people who text,” she says. “Many of the words presented in the study are not commonly known and were not acceptable to the participants who texted more, or read less traditional print media.”

Lee suggests that reading traditional print media exposes people to variety and creativity in language that’s not found in the colloquial peer-to-peer text messaging used among youth or “generation text.”

She says reading encourages flexibility in language use and tolerance of different words. It helps readers to develop skills that allow them to generate interpretable readings of new or unusual words.

Yeah, it’s called “education.” SCNR**

* And God knows what else

** Sorry, could not resist

Ref: The List of Chat Acronyms & Text Message Shorthand

Ref.: Lee, Joan Hwechong, What does txting do 2 language? The influences of exposure to messaging and print media on acceptability constraints, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2012; [link]

Amara D. Angelica is Editor of KurzweilAI