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Texting isn’t detrimental to spelling skills? R U shocked?

With the average teenager sending about 6 texts per waking hour, it is becoming the most common form of communication, and many fear that it is destroying spelling skills. However, recent research shows that “textese” doesn’t affect traditional spelling in students with high phonological awareness. It is this skill that allows texters to create and decode abbreviations like gr8, 4evr, and 2moro.

According to a 2011 study, the practice of creating “textese” is a surprisingly complex linguistic exercise.

  • Text composers must break words down into syllables, and understand that words are a stream of compressed distinct language sounds (called phonemes).
  • Composers of a text message must identify the symbols that represent those sounds, isolate the individual phonemes, deconstruct words into phonemes, and reconstruct a word from a string of single phonemes.
  • Text message users must be familiar with the acceptable sound-symbol combinations in written English, and must be able to differentiate the sequence of the phonemes in a word.
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