MAUREEN AND URSULA AND (...).Texting slang invading academic work

Texting slang invading academic work

College professors are anything but LOL at students' writing habits.
Matt Krupnick
Contra Costa Times
College professors are anything but LOL at their students' recent writing habits.
Not only are instructors not laughing out loud — shortened to LOL in text messages and online chats — at the technology-oriented shorthand that has seeped into academic papers, many of them also sternly telling students to stop using the new language even in less formal writing.
The shorthand often consists of shortened variations of common words — "u" instead of you, or "ur" for your. Text speak may be appropriate for a quick note to a friend, but professors are increasingly stymied by how casually students are using the terms.
"Despite the fact that I happen to be perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to my (e-mail) inbox directly from your phone keypad, 'wut up ya I cnt make it 2 clss lol' is insanely unprofessional," reads the syllabus of Alejo Enriquez, a Cal State East Bay instructor.
"Therefore, I am imposing a higher standard of grammar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon you and kindly request that all e-mails sent to me resemble any other letter to your teacher, supervisor, grandparents or parole officer."
Faculty members increasingly have expressed irritation about reading acronyms and abbreviations they often do not understand, said Sally Murphy, a Cal State East Bay professor and director of the university's general-education program. One e-mail to a professor started with, "Yo, teach," she said.
"It has a real effect on the tone of professionalism," said Murphy, who also has seen younger instructors use the shorthand. "We tell them very specifically how this is going to affect them in life. It's kind of like wearing their jeans below their butt. They're going to lose all credibility."
The introduction of such casual language into term papers is a sea change from the days when nearly all students addressed their instructors as "professor" or "doctor." More faculty members ask students to call them by their first names, but many are drawing the line at texting shorthand or even emoticons — smiley faces made out of punctuation marks.
Tech-speak has been moving through the educational pipeline toward colleges for a few years. A 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that two-thirds of middle- and high-school students had accidentally used instant-messaging-style words in their work, while a quarter admitted using emoticons in assignments.
The breakdown in language skills is an odd phenomenon given how much time children and young adults spend in front of the computer, said Marcia Linn, who teaches about technology in education at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education.
"Writing has actually increased as an activity," she said. "Standards are another issue. Maybe we haven't quite thought it through well enough in an academic setting."
Many students communicate constantly via text and instant messaging, so it can be difficult to leave the tech lingo behind in class, said Mohammed Shahid Beig, a senior and student-body president at Cal State East Bay.
Contribution: Dr. Jordano

Do you text? Do you think the article is appropriate? Our unit is about writing, what's your opinion about texting and writing?


  1. Paloma Blanco4/22/10, 8:29 PM

    Probaby within a lot of years this is going to end up in another writen language form. But the real thing is people who become very fond of this way of writing in mobile phones and emails, at least in spanish language make a lot of ortographic mistakes. In my case I have english friends whom I write let´s say a bit lazy and instead of writing *you* I write *u* and things like that. Of course texting is not a real way of writing: but sometimes it´s a way to shorten words and sentences just to send a message and the main point is just the information more than the way is written.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You are probably right, Paloma, but many teachers complain they read essays and composition with many "texting" vocabulary. Let's see what other students say! (and welcome back! ;-)

  4. Elena de los Cobos4/27/10, 9:00 PM

    Hello, Lucía: I usually send messages using the short way and e-mails using the whole words. It´s really funny because for example I say "u shld b btter". I follow the rules even writing in a short way, but I recogn university students and even school students have more and more spelling mistakes in the exams. It´s a pitty.

  5. In my case I don't like a lot the mobile and I usually don't write a lot of messages but if I have to do it, I am incapable of doing in a short way. Not because I don't want but because I don't know how to do it. In my entire life I think that I have written not more than a dozen messages and I recognize that it is boring to write a message with all the letters. Maybe it is the reason why I don't like write them.

    Cristina González

  6. Hi Lucía,
    I have to admit that sometimes I send messages using the short way, but I prefer to write all the words correctly.
    In fact, I hate this kind of messages where all are abbreviations.
    It had happened to me that some friend has sent me a message and I couldn't understand it because it was too much abbreviated!
    About students, I think they are so used to writing in this way that it interferes when they have to write essays or compositions.
    I don't know if in the future the language will evolve to a new way of written-language or simply to a new evolved language, but I personally hope don't.
    Silvia Useros

  7. Like Cristina, I don't feel gifted to text!!
    But as Silvia writes we will see what the future brings!

  8. maria macias6/1/10, 4:30 PM

    I am a bit like Elena, I use short text when I am sending mobile messages and correct words when I am sending e-mail messages. However, I think that there are differences with younger generations and children, they are more acustome to write short text and apply that method of writing to everything, I think that is a way and a place...

  9. Cristina Tejera6/13/10, 10:43 PM

    I must be the only person on the world that doesn't use the short text. I try to write correctly and I want every word with all the letters. When I get a message on my phone with short text, I can't read it as quickly as I would; I need extra time to understand it!


  10. Cristina, I am with you on that one. I also thought I was the only one that wrote every single letter the way it's supposed to be, whether it's on the mobile phone or the Internet. I even have a hard time trying to understand some of the messages my friends send me! But the most important thing is that writing this way should not be allowed, under any circumstances in any kind of serious environment, whether it's at school or at work. It's true that I see a lot of people making stupid spelling mistakes because they are getting used to writing in a way that's not the right one and it's a shame: Spanish is such a beautiful language... So I hope that this doesn't affect our language and people understand that it doesn't look serious (God, I sound like a grandma and I am only 24!), actually it looks childish and immature in my opinion... So let's hope this doesn't affect the academic world.

    María Badía Santiago

  11. I Agree with Cristina and María I write the hold thing because I don't really know how to do it to make it short and I would spend longer time trying to think how to do it.
    It's true that is really difficult to read some text but I think that that happens to me because I'm not used to get texts like that.
    I don't think that we should be so worry about that changing the languages because meanwhile it remainds in the texts it is not a problem.
    Languages are alive and they are going to find differents ways of expresing themselves and the should be bad.
    I don't think that we have to think about new things as something bad.
    When the TV all the people was worried that the radio was going to desapier and it didn't happen so lets not be so catrastofist.

    Mari Carme Garcia Jara