OMG, texting is bad for our vocabulary, at least that’s the result of a new study, that found that people who routinely send and receive text messages are more resistant to accepting new words. Here are the details:
Linguists at the University of Calgary asked students about the number of texts they sent and received each day. They also completed a questionnaire that measured how much time they spent reading books, newspapers, and magazines.
Then, each student was given a list of words, some real, and some made up, and were asked to define the ones they thought were legit. The result: The students who texted the most were more likely say that real words were fake. The texters also had a harder time guessing at a word’s meaning. But big readers were better at picking out the real words. And they were better able to make a good guess at the definition, if they didn’t know it.
Joan Lee was lead researcher of the study. And she says the results surprised a lot of people because it’s commonly believed that the abbreviations used in text messages encourage language development. But even though text abbreviations look creative, they’re really nothing more than a code.
So, they train us to rely on frequent repetition and make us more inclined to reject unfamiliar words.
What’s this mean to you? A recent Nielson survey showed that the average teen receives more than 3300 texts a month. And that only about half of teenagers read outside of school. With those kinds of statistics, instead of giving your kids unlimited texting privileges, maybe it’s time to renew their library card.