Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Textual perversion

One topic on Talk of the Nation today was David Crystal's study of texting and its effect(?) on language. Not surprisingly Crystal isn't too concerned. Rational study tends to give you that comfort.

A friend let me know about the show just in time for me to listen.

His text message was telling.

Talk of the Nation on NPR now debating about whether texting corrupts the language with a linguist. Is that an ambiguous construction? Im driving.

See how texting licensed the deletion of a copula verb in that first sentence? And as if that's not bad enough he then leaves out an apostrophe in Im driving! This is what texting is doing to us, people. This guy's a professor and he can't even write complete Standard English sentences with pristine punctuation. And while he takes the time to wonder if his construction is ambiguous he doesn't bother to go back and disambiguate his meaning with a careful rewrite. Oh how our standards have fallen.

1 comment:

  1. Haha... glad you caught the show. Nothing very surprising, like you said -- but it's not every day a real-live linguist is on NPR.

    (It's like, every Tuesday)

    Sometimes I wonder if the notion that there are droves of grammarians out there shaking there heads is something of an imaginary threat... I haven't really heard anyone seriously worrying about the sanctity of the language lately.


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