Linguistic activists such as John Murphy have written off text message services as harmful to the language due to their structure. He even proposed that the services should be stopped. Another, John Sutherland termed the services as a digital virus as it hides the inabilities of its users (Crystal 336).
People, due to the increased efficiency, have applauded the technological advancement. They however realize that its negative effects on language cannot be underestimated. Short Message Services is a very common service that started slowly and later took a very sharp increase in usage. Within a few years of its technological and logistical development, its usage sharply rose from 0.4 texts every month in 1995 to 35 by the end of 2000. Year 2005 saw the number of text messages surpass a trillion and its revenue surpassing that of Hollywood returns (Crystal 2008).
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The perceived damage to language might be untrue as many people, especially the old language users who still use punctuations and rarely use abbreviations. This is common in institutional text messages where they try to pass accurate information without hurting the language. The abbreviation that many people condemn are not as new as the text messages. Some are as old as 1618 (I Owe You-IOU) yet they have been officially used without complaints. In 1942, an abbreviations dictionary was published and contained numerous short forms that are used today by texters (Crystal 2008). Use of single letters and words such as ‘u’ for ‘you’ and ‘2’ for ‘to’ can be equated to “YY U R YY U B I C U R YY 4 ME” used during Christmas long time ago.
Poems and other writers in the early times have used short forms and have not spoilt the language at all. Further, abbreviations have been in use in English language since its inception. Examples include exam and fridge. It is not as bad as it has been lauded and does not reduce the ability of a person to read (Crystal 2008). The only caution that should be taken is to ensure that only those who are competent in literary skills can use text messages. They should however not be condemned but man’s ability to create new forums should be applauded.
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