Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

David Crystal

Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

This book takes a long hard look at the text-messaging phenomenon and its effects on literacy, language, and society. Young people who seem to spend much of their time texting sometimes appear unable or unwilling to write much else. Media outrage has ensued. "It is bleak, bald, sad shorthand," writes a commentator in the UK Guardian. "It masks dyslexia, poor spelling, and mental laziness." Exam answers using textese and reports that examiners find them acceptable have led to headlines in the tabloids and leaders in the qualities. Do young people text as much as people think? Do adults? Does texting spell the end of literacy? Is there a panic in the media? David Crystal looks at the evidence. He investigates how texting began and who uses it, why and what for. He shows how to interpret its mix of pictograms, logograms, abbreviations, symbols, and wordplay, and how it works in different languages.He explores the ways similar devices have been used in different eras and discovers that the texting system of conveying sounds and meaning goes back a long way, all the way in fact to the origins of writing - and he concludes that far from hindering literacy, texting may turn out to help it. 4.3 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Language & Linguistics, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 256
RRP £9.99
Date of Publication July 2008
ISBN 978-0199544905
Publisher OUP
 

This book takes a long hard look at the text-messaging phenomenon and its effects on literacy, language, and society. Young people who seem to spend much of their time texting sometimes appear unable or unwilling to write much else. Media outrage has ensued. "It is bleak, bald, sad shorthand," writes a commentator in the UK Guardian. "It masks dyslexia, poor spelling, and mental laziness." Exam answers using textese and reports that examiners find them acceptable have led to headlines in the tabloids and leaders in the qualities. Do young people text as much as people think? Do adults? Does texting spell the end of literacy? Is there a panic in the media? David Crystal looks at the evidence. He investigates how texting began and who uses it, why and what for. He shows how to interpret its mix of pictograms, logograms, abbreviations, symbols, and wordplay, and how it works in different languages.He explores the ways similar devices have been used in different eras and discovers that the texting system of conveying sounds and meaning goes back a long way, all the way in fact to the origins of writing - and he concludes that far from hindering literacy, texting may turn out to help it.

Reviews

The Times

Melissa Katsoulis

[An] excellent study... Crystal presents a compelling argument in favour of texting as a force for, and signifier of, linguistic ability... what he has discovered makes for fascinating reading.

18/07/2008

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The Financial Times

Jonathan Sale

Texting is going to be with us for a while and it is Crystal clear that we had better get used to it. Before picking up this informative and clearly written texting textbook, I was devoutly anti-SMS; I am now totally persuaded. Read it to catch up on what your kids already know (for example, “a3” = “anytime, anywhere, any place”) and then to overtake them by familiarising yourself with text-speak in 11 languages (“sTn” = “schönen Tag noch”, which is the German for “have a good one”).

19/07/2008

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The New Statesman

John Sutherland

txtng offers a highly comprehensible description of such things as: initialism, predictive spelling, consonant writing (such as wrtng), logograms [etc.] ... txtng supplies a crystal-clear explanation of the electronic imperatives that condition the practice. This short book is bulked out with 50 pages of off-the-shelf, but nonetheless helpful, glossaries and text abbreviations in no fewer than 11 languages. The chapters are interspersed with charming cartoons by Ed McLachlan. What propels the book is Crystal's passionate belief that texting is fascinating. And he makes it fascinating.

31/07/2008

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The Spectator

Lloyd Evans

[An] entertaining book... Crystal is a sophisticated, open-minded tour guide but even he rambles a little. The book closes with a 40-page texting dictionary aimed at a rather improbable range of international emergencies. Got a date with Claudia Schiffer? Text ‘bbb’, a German abridgement of ‘see you later, baby’...

16/07/2008

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The Sunday Times

Marcus Berkmann

This is a brief book that sometimes feels like an overextended magazine article. At times, Crystal, who probably has another three books to write before the end of the year, just seems to be filling the pages: we hear that two-thirds of texts are only one sentence, that 82% use no capital letters, and so on. But it's a work that needed to be written, it's wholly persuasive in its arguments and it makes the blusterers look a bit silly. Besides, I rather like a book that tells you that, essentially, there's nothing to worry about.

20/07/2008

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