Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8


Text messaging has spread like wildfire. Indeed texting is so widespread that many parents, teachers, and media pundits have been outspoken in their criticism of it. Does texting spell the end of western civilization?
In this humorous, level-headed and insightful book, David Crystal argues that the panic over texting is misplaced. Crystal, a world renowned linguist and prolific author on the uses and abuses of English, here looks at every aspect of the phenomenon of text-messaging and considers its effects on literacy, language, and society. He explains how texting began, how it works, who uses it, and how much it is used, and he shows how to interpret the mixture of pictograms, logograms, abbreviations, symbols, and wordplay typically used in texting. He finds that the texting system of conveying sounds and concepts goes back a long way--to the very origins of writing. And far from hindering children's literacy, texting turns out to help it.
Illustrated with original art by Ed MacLachlan, a popular cartoonist whose work has appeared in Punch, Private Eye, New Statesman, and many other publications, Txting: The Gr8 Db8 is entertaining and instructive--reassuring for worried parents and teachers, illuminating for teenagers, and fascinating for everyone interested in what's currently happening to language and communication.


Virtually every day I get an email or phone call – occasionally even a letter – from someone asking a linguistic question or wanting to share a linguistic observation. And over the past year or so I’ve noticed a trend: about half of these communications are about texting. For example, in May 2007 I received this from a journalist:

Here in Orange County, California, 11 to 13-year-olds are
increasingly using acronyms in their conversations. Text
message shorthand is now everyday talk. Instead
of exclaiming, ‘Oh mygod,’ kids will say, ‘OMG!’ Instead of
‘Just kidding,’ they will say, ‘JK.’ I would like to know
what you think of this development. Is it good or bad for
language? Why is it happening? Has it happened before?

I put a brief response up on my blog.

As I was doing so, I searched for a general book which would answer these questions more fully. I couldn’t find one. My own previous writing on this topic had been brief and anecdotal. Even in my Language and the Internet (2001), I devoted only a page or two to texting, as mobile phones were really off topic. And my Glossary of Netspeak and Textspeak (2004) was . . .

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