Dear Commons Community,
Here is a light piece on issues of spelling among the texting set many of whom are us and especially our students. The issue in the article (see URL below) is the fact that English is inconsistent in its pronunciation – through, rough, dough, plough – all end in “ough” but sound differently. The author observes that texters are taking some of this into their own hands by using a kind of shorthand to sound out exactly what they want to say. For instance, debate becomes deb8 or you are great becomes U R gr8. The article goes on to speculate that some of this is because of the tiny or in some cases the abbreviated keypads on PDAs and cell phones (I gave up on my Blackberry). I would add that a social networking website like twitter that limits messages to 140 characters has something to do with it also. With my own students, I see the standard abbreviations similar to those above in emails sometimes but rarely in a posting to a discussion board or a blog devoted to a class activity. The article concludes that the organizations who are the keepers of “standard” English do not see any official changes to the language in the near future but if it were to come it more likely will be from bottom-up usage rather than dictated (or should I say dict8ed) from the top-down.