Author Archives: kyle
Part 1: The Conversation
In the first academic journal, Cingel asserts that the increased use of text messaging in adolescents has weakened their comprehension of the English language, thus deteriorating their ability to correctly use capitalization, abbreviations, etc. In the subsequent article, Dansieh agrees with Cingel that texting is has a negative correlation with grammar skills, using teacher surveys as his evidence. On the other hand, Durkin, Conti-Ramsden, and Walker, the three authors writing in the Journal of Computed Assisted Learning, argue that texting does not create comprehension of written word but comprehension does however make texting much easier. Margery Fee, the author of “Texting as a Life Phase Medium,” takes a different approach as she argues that texting is simply another step in the advancement of communication and that it is not a step back. Following Fee’s lead, Rich Lee from Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication states that texting has become a stage of life in that the amount of texts sent is at its highest when humans are in the adolescent stage. Lastly, Simoes-Periant and his six fellow authors from Written Language and Literacy argue that based on studies conducted with texts sent from dyslexic teens, text language is a novel language that is separate from English.
Based on these six sources, I have gathered that there are basically two schools of thought concerning whether or not texting is harmful or beneficial to the comprehension of the English language. The first side of this argument alleges that the increased use of text messaging is harmful to society in that it destroys our phonological and linguistic understanding. Cingel and Dansieh are the two authors from the six sources in the annotated bibliography that are in accordance with this belief. While he states that texting is detrimental to our society, Cingel adds that our society is also conforming to the new grammar laws that are a result of texting. In agreement with Cingel, Dansieh takes it a step further by citing teacher surveys that show that the more a student texts, the lower their grammar skills are.
On the other side of the argument are the rest of the authors from my annotated bibliography. These four sources argue that while texting is not necessarily good for the comprehension of English, it is definitely not harming it. For example, Durkin’s research does not mention anything about ruining the language. It simply states that the ability to text stems from the ability to understand language, thus emphasizing the point that Fee makes in her article: texting is a tool that humans can use because of advancements in communication technology and our previously acquired skills of how to read and write. Lastly, the article written by Rich Ling and the article written by Simoes-Periant take a slightly different approach to why texting is not damaging. They both view texting as a product of societal advancements. This second school of thought on texting views it as a novel language and treats it separately from the English language whereas the first school studies it as a branch of English.
Part 2: Finding the Gap(s) in the Scholarly Conversation
While I believe that within each of their individual articles these authors are very thorough, I think that their assertions are missing a key element. All of the journals describe how texting is affecting this generation’s comprehension of English and how social networking and SMS messages are integral parts of our society, but none discuss how texting will impact the future. The argument that texting is destroying our current generation’s understanding of written word may be valid because it is a relatively new technology, and therefore might cause confusion. However, the novelty of this technology also might be a reason a researcher would claim that it couldn’t possibly affect how we understand English, because not enough time has passed. But what happens when time does pass and the next generation is born into a world where texting already exists? Will they have a harder time differentiating between “text talk” and normal grammar as they grow up? This missing component needs more attention in research because in only a few years, the kids who were born around the same time texting was “born” will be perfecting their reading and writing. This is important because we will finally have evidence of the difference between the writing and reading skills of Americans born before texting and Americans born after texting.
Part 3: The Research Question
In the group of Americans that send over 50 texts a day, are English-speaking adolescents who were born after the invention of texting more likely to have grammar problems (specifically with spelling, capitalization, and abbreviations) than the English-speaking generation that was born before texting was invented?
One of the many luxuries that come with being a student in the college of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is that there is a very wide array of majors and thus career opportunities to choose from. Considering this, my Friday group, under the strong wing of our peer mentor Ben Wiley, decided to chose a topic that, like the college of LAHS, was also quite broad. Myself being a Communication major, I could have made any topic work, being as humans have always been communicating. We had a simple majority vote to pick the three topics we thought would be the best. Once we got down to those three, we held another vote. The vote resulted in the selection of perhaps the most ambiguous of the final three (I use ambiguous positively here), being as Culture, Society, and the Individual was the topic we ended up selecting. Like I have said though, I was happy we chose this one not only because it was my vote from the very beginning but also because it was so expansive that anybody in my Friday group could relate it to their major, whether it be communication, history, international studies, political science, etc.
Concerning finding sources, everything went pretty smoothly. I chose to find sources that discuss or argue how the texting culture we live in today is or is not affecting the comprehension of the English language. I chose this first because it appropriately relates to our newfound culture and how we interact within society and second because it has a great deal to do with communication. At the recommendation of Ben, I used the Summon database on our Library website to find all of my sources. I was lucky enough not to have to do too much snooping around online for academic journals. If I had to choose one difficulty I ran into though it would have to just be the frustration of finding a great source and then realizing that it wasn’t an academic journal. For instance, I ran into a TED talk that was perfect for my research topic but I was forbidden to use it because it was not a peer-reviewed journal. Frustrating as that was, that was honestly the only “difficulty” I ran into. If I were to do this assignment again I would probably change my approach to getting sources. I would still use Summon database just because it was so user-friendly but I would only use it to find the name of the articles. I would have much rather gotten the journals in print form just because it would have been easier to read and review, as opposed to having six windows open on my computer trying to read and write about all of them at the same time.
Ben, as always, was very helpful in guiding us along the way with our topic. Concerning my own project, he was very good at stressing that I should try to tie the journals back to my major, which I think I did quite well. I do wish, however, that our group would’ve dove into each other’s projects a bit more, if nothing else just to see where we got our sources. Summon was very helpful but somewhat boring. I wish I had to do a bit more snooping, just for the adventure.
Cingel, Drew P., and Shyam S. Sundar. “Texting, Techspeak, and Tweens: The Relationship Between Text Messaging and English Grammar Skills.” New Media & Society 14.8 (2012): 1304-20. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
Cingel states that the increased use of text messaging among adolescents has weakened their comprehension of their respective languages. Furthermore, Cingel claims that texting has even had impacts on the English Language as a whole in that the language has evolved in terms of capitalization rules and abbreviations because of text shorthand. These assertions are relevant to our topic of culture, society, and the individual and more importantly my communications major because nothing is more significant to our society or more key to our communication than the English language. With the seemingly year after year increase of the amount of people texting, our language as a whole could eventually undergo major changes simply because of our texting.
Dansieh, Solomon Ali. “SMS Texting And Its Potential Impacts On Students’ Written Communication Skills.” International Journal of English Linguistics 1.2 (2011): 222-229. Print.
In this journal, Dansieh argues that texting has a negative correlation with teens’ grammar skills in that the more a child texts, the lower their grammar skills are. His evidence, while not very empirical (It is mainly teacher surveys), is very convincing. Human’s advanced communication is largely what makes us the most dominant species in the world and while I’m not going as far to say that if our society continues its constant texting we will become increasingly incompetent, I am agreeing with Dansieh that our grammar skills could take a major hit down the road.
Ling, Rich. “Texting as a Life Phase Medium.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 15.2 (2010): 277-92. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
This study explores how the amount of texting done by each age group has become increasingly stable over time. That is to say that people in their twenties all text around the same amount and people in their sixties all text around the same amount. The main point lies in the fact that the graph takes a major jump during the adolescent ages, suggesting that texting has now become a phase of sorts for our society’s youth. This source fits well into our research topic and my communications major because it shows how are society is not only influenced by texting, but that this type of communication has become an integral part in our culture and stages of life.
For starters, I have to give it to Graff for making it virtually impossible to argue the points he makes in Hidden Intellectualism. He makes this difficult by saying that in arguing the assertions he makes, the reader if simultaneously supporting them because they are using their intellectual side to do so. Luckily, I agree with what Graff is saying in his essay, especially since I can relate. He challenges conventional schooling systems and teaching that rams classic, and for lack of a better word, boring literature and school work down students’ throats. Graff believes that in order to access their intellectual side, students must use their hobbies and interests as an avenue into more scholarly subjects. He gives a personal example. Graff says that he realized he was intellectually gifted through arguing sports with his friends, something that I can relate to all too well. Like Graff, I never really enjoyed reading as a kid. I was good at it and I was an overall good student, but I simply did the bare minimum and moved on. I was more focused on looking forward to getting home and watching ESPN. I loved watching games on TV and watching shows like SportsCenter, things that didn’t require much thinking. As I grew older, I still watched ESPN religiously, but I had moved on to more mature shows like Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. These shows, while still littered with sports highlights, helped me realize that I too was intellectually gifted because they analyzed more than just sports. They make connections between sports and politics and sports and social issues, something I had just skipped over as a kid. Because of these sports shows, I started to gain an interest in the political world and probably became a better student as a result. So I agree with Graff in that it is easier for students to become more interested in scholarly subjects by making connections with their interests. What troubles me with the argument, however, s the part in which Graff discusses how schools must make a change. It is very unrealistic for schools to try to appeal to all the students’ unique interests in hopes that they will become more attentive to their schoolwork. Students cannot simply pick and chose what subjects interest them and do those. It would be anarchy. Like Graff and myself, the kids must find connections themselves. It is not the school’s job to try to teach math by relating it to batting averages, for example.
September 5, 2103
In Hidden Intellectualism, Gerald Graff begins with the age-old argument of the difference between “book smarts” (intellectualism) and “street smarts.” Graff explains that in many cases, these book smarts can take various forms and hide in what people call street smarts, hence the “hidden” intellectualism. For him, he realized that he was intellectually gifted when he noticed that he was using reason and argumentative strategies while discussing sports with friends. Graff describes that through his arguing and reasoning, he was showing his intellectual side. He also gives the reader another example of the discovery of hidden intellectualism by telling the story of Michael Warner, a man who also realized his intellectual side through his arguing except instead of sports, he was arguing the Christian Pentecostal views of his parents.
Graff then transfers to a bit of a darker tone by discussing that intellectualism is often looked down upon and is labeled as being nerdy or geeky. He explains that as a kid, he was afraid to show his intellectual side in fear that he would be the target of name-calling and bullying so he suppressed that side of him. However, by continuing to talk about sports (the cool stuff) he was just building upon his hidden intellectualism.
Lastly, Gerald Graff describes to the reader how important it is to teach this intellectualism to kids who do not notice the intellectualism inside of them. By bringing youth culture into the curriculum, Graff explains, the kids can make an easier transition into more intellectual subjects. He goes further that by saying that if kids can passionately argue about sports, music, and pop culture then they can hopefully channel that passion to discuss classic works of literature and other more scholarly subjects. He closes by saying that helping kids become an intellectual rather than just finding it within themselves is still a work in progress.