Sunday, March 15, 2009

Textmessaging and Learning English

There have been several articles written on the topic of textmessaging and its effects on native speakers of English. The following site called Learning Now brings this topic up for comments and contains a range of thoughtful arguments for and against teaching SMS in the public school classroom. What are the pros and cons of teaching these skills to ESL students?

On the one hand, we want our students to learn standard American English. On the other hand, we want them to know how to use English effectively. Certainly, in the "real" world, outside the classroom, where communication often takes place via textmessaging, it is important to recognize common shorthand expressions, like lol, tmi, imho, and omg. At the same time, we can teach students that register or level of formality affects whether to use those expressions or not. Also, I've discovered that these expressions are finding their way into speech. If someone says, we're now bff, or asks if something is tmi, without knowledge of these acronyms, you have no idea what people are saying.

Here's a starter package of expressions I found online. I say have fun with them because if you can't have fun with a language, what's the point of studying it? ttyl....

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