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  • Jul 27, 2014
  • Updated: 12:46am

Does simple text language help boost communication?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 January, 2010, 12:00am

Matthew Murchie, 15, St Joseph's College

A lot of people say youngsters' language standards have dropped because of the abbreviations used in text messaging.

It's true that many teens chat online and use SMS to keep in touch with their friends and relatives.

As a result, abbreviations like 'cu' and '88' have become very popular.

I think these acronyms actually help boost communication rather than lead to a deterioration in language standards.

Language is a medium that helps facilitate communication. There are many different languages around the world. They are related to people's cultures and their countries' geographic locations.

Languages evolve with time, and new words and phrases crop up every few years. A good language should include commonly understood and accepted terms.

As long as the message is understood by the receiver, it is fine. SMS plays a similar role to that of a formal language. It is the best tool to demonstrate the effectiveness of using simple words.

Besides, there are a limited number of characters in each SMS - which can be received within a few seconds - so simple words are important.

In conclusion, as long as simple text is used properly, it is a quick and easy way to keep in touch with each other.

Ronald Ling Pak-ki, 19, University of Hong Kong

During texting, you cannot see the other person's face, you cannot hear their voice and you don't know whether they are paying any attention to you. Instead of boosting interaction between people, I believe text messages can become an obstacle to communication.

Excessive use of abbreviations has made text messaging insincere and repetitive. People around the world use a standardised set of acronyms to replace more personal expressions.

It's more satisfying to hear someone say 'That was hilarious, Ronald' than see 'LOL' - the common slang used by millions of people in text messages. Wouldn't you want someone to say 'It was lovely talking to you, I really enjoyed it' than have the same old 'ttyl' at the end of every conversation you have?

One cannot deny that text abbreviations do speed up communication. But communication is not all about speed. It would be a terrible shame if a rich and diverse language is converted into a robotic list of abbreviated code words merely to save a few seconds.

Language is a tool that allows us to convey our ideas and emotions effectively. With SMS language, it is impossible to achieve that sort of understanding.

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