Texting is Bad 4 U : Calgary Study Shows Language Comprehension Suffers with Frequent Messaging

 @JaceyFortin
on February 17 2012 12:31 PM
Frequent texting leads to difficulties with language comprehension.
Frequent texting leads to difficulties with language comprehension. Jhaymesiviphotography / Flickr

With all the unusual spellings and neologisms that text messaging has introduced into popular culture, you'd think it might have some benefits in terms of linguistic comprehension and diversity. 

But as it turns out, ud b wrong.

When Calgary University masters candidate Joan Lee set out to study the effects of frequent texting on language comprehension, she was optimistic. Our assumption about text messaging is that it encourages unconstrained language, she wrote in a press release. But the study found this to be a myth.

Although it's true that texting has introduced a range of new words to colloquial vocabulary--including gems like 'lol,' 'l8r' and 'nabe' -- the study found that most messages utilize only a very limited range of terms. This hampers texters' ability to accept and comprehend unfamiliar language, even when they're not gazing into a smartphone.

As Lee noted in the abstract: Generally speaking, participants with higher levels of print media exposure accepted more test items, and participants with higher levels of text messaging exposure accepted fewer items.

The study is called, 'What does txting do 2 language? The influences of exposure to messaging and print media on acceptability constraints.' The full abstract and citations are available online.

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