Using complete WORDS instead of TXT SPK

United States
February 25, 2007 9:32pm CST
I write for a living. I am what some people describe as a "Writer for Hire." Other people call that a Technical Writer-- although I hardly fit the conventional image of technical writers, in that there's seldom anything "technical" about what I write. I did start in the field writing software manuals and online help systems, but most of what I do these days ranges from advertising copy, to sales letters, to web content, to newsletters, to metaphysics-- pretty much "soup to nuts." Many of my "gigs" take place online, through "backdoors" to web sites and company INTRAnets. Whenever I start something new, there are inevitably a slew of instructions on how the writing should come out. Today, I came across the following "instruction:" Dnt use abbrvs b/c thr 2 diff 4 ppl 2 read. It reminded me (on some level) of a large number of discussions and comments on myLot. Maybe I am just OLD, but I DO find so-called "txt msg spk" to be really hard to read. Come on, folks-- this is a WEB SITE, not your cell phone! Am I the only one who feels annoyed by discussions and replies that don't use complete words and sentences? And I'm not talking about non-native English speakers (for whom I make allowances), I'm talking about what's often US residents in college who write in this kind of "shorthand." What do you think? Does this bother you? Or is it just a "sign of the times?"
20 people like this
49 responses
@cjthedog64 (1553)
• United States
26 Feb 07
This bothers me too. I do think it's a sign of the times, but it won't change. Rather it will become customary to use that sort of spelling. Many schools even teach invented spelling in the early grades to encourage kids to get their points across, rather than worry about spelling. My SD did this and not even she could read her invented spelling! I also read something a while back about high schoolers who were unable to write a basic paragraph because of all the made up spellings. At the time, texting wasn't big yet, so the words were things like "toys r us", "mac n cheese", etc. Now those people are in the workforce, and people are surprised when they can't get a decent job. I'll make sure that my DS knows how to write properly. Yet another reason that I hope to homeschool him.
4 people like this
• United States
26 Feb 07
I find it mildly disturbing how schools teach that kind of spelling. I can appreciate the underlying motivation that it's important that someone can "express themselves." That said, the foundation for communication is UNDERSTANDING, not EXPRESSSION. It doesn't matter HOW free you are to express yourself, if nobody understands what you're trying to communicate.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Feb 07
Good luck homeschooling. I pulled my kids from PS because they just weren't getting a good education.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Mar 07
I use homeschooling to augment the public school due to restrictive laws here they make homeschooling difficult.But I do think the school system is deliberately dumbing down our kids
@Y3110w (113)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I know what you mean! It really irrates me! Even when I text I use complete sentences with actual punctuation. Another thing that makes me mad is when people don't know how to differentiate between "Your" and "You're", or "There", "Their", and "They're" oh and of course when people spell "a lot" as if it was one word. I mean come on no one had to tell me that they were two separate words, they LOOK wrong together. Please people you're not illiterate, don't write/type like you are. Sorry for that long response but really got me going =D.
2 people like this
• United States
8 Mar 07
Thank you for that! And also for illustrating that complete sentences isn't just something "for old people," as I am frequently told.
@TinWolf (184)
• United States
26 Feb 07
THANK YOU! I have made decent income at writing, and for approximately 57 years have kept my PASSION close. Certainly there have been times when I have to follow one of my early works, "101 ways to prepare and enjoy Peanut Butter." :) I never took TYPING 101, and admittedly do on occasion fall into the NET shorthand in chat, but I keep a WEBSTERS close at hand, as well as already having a decent command of My language. I also rely on "Spell Check" :) What saddens me, as much as this medium is the accepted way to connect globally, and the technology expands exponentially, offering opportunities on many levels, it does, in some case, DE-Evolve our ability or reasoning, in communicating. Obviously I use such things as TY (Thank You) BRB (Be Right Back) for the SPEED of it more than to "Bast***ize my language ability. I have to wonder though, if at some point we'll all DE-Evolve to a point where Everyone actually understands "ROTFLMAO." I certainly hope not. One more BOOK to have to carry to refer to in trying to interpret, and one that is outdated as rapidly as this technolgy, smile. "Good On Ya" Steven Wolf
• United States
26 Feb 07
Steven, thanks for your comment! You bring up something here that's perhaps the topic for a whole new discussion-- namely whether the world is "devolving." We keep trying to cram more and more "content" into our lives in some pursuit of the idea that if only we had "ONE more thing/activity/person/idea" we'd somehow have the secret to a happy life. But... as a result, isn't each individual "unit of content" within our lives gradually being reduced to a "10-second sound bite" or an "abbreviation?" My point being, that txt spk isn't really "the problem," but merely "a symptom" of a much greater ill.
• United States
26 Feb 07
I don't come across chatspeak too often, and when I chat I spell out most things.... usually only abbreviating for LOL. When I see chatspeak where it doesn't belong... it makes me question the person's intelligence a bit.
• United States
26 Feb 07
Same here. I have to really "try" to keep an open mind about someone who reponds that way to statements in what is CLEARLY a writing forum.
• United States
26 Feb 07
i don't use txt spk on mylot only in a messenger. i think txt spk is bad for your discussions or responses because the rating will go down if someone doesn't understand what you're talking about. i always use complete words. it's much more appropriate. sometimes i don't understand some txt spk. it doesn't really bother me at all. i just don't think it's appropriate here.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Feb 07
You make a really important point here-- that it's not even so much about USING txt spk, but about knowing when it is APPROPRIATE and when it's not.
@Monkeymia (206)
• Australia
26 Feb 07
I actually don't like the "text talk" as sad as it sounds, it actually takes longer to read and word together than if you wrote it out properly. Text talk is good for photos but when making a long sentence or post here, use the correct words.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Feb 07
It does take longer to read... and whereas I can see how it makes sense if you're stuck somewhere with a 140-character maximum message... it makes NO sense on a web site where you can type out complete sentences.
2 people like this
@brihanna (381)
• United States
26 Feb 07
Good post. I agree with you. I think that it is just rude. I mean, if you do not have time to type out the whole word, which will only take another few seconds, don't even bother. I can top this though, as I have 2 teens, who "speak" this written language. So, I have to figure out what they are saying. "idk" "jk" "we" no wonder I have a hard time communicating with them. They also use phrases like 'rolls eyes' or "wags tail" to let me know if they are disgusted with me or happy. I can't keep up.
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
26 Feb 07
"Txt Speak" bothers me a lot. I have suggeste several times that Mylot put it in their guidelines not to use it. When I see a question or answer in text messaging jargon I usually mention it when I reply. I have also checked the profiles of the people who use it and find it is usually a young person. We should all remind people that this is a forum and complete sentences should be the order of the day.
@bonbon50 (659)
• United States
26 Feb 07
You're not alone, I hate it also. But then, I'm no teenager, either. I just think it's a bad habit to get into and makes a person seem illiterate. I don't understand why people rely so much on text messaging to begin with.
2 people like this
@thebestmom (1105)
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
Yes, it's annoying. It's also a fad here in the Philippines, using txt , and shortcuts. its because they use it in texting, and it is a lot easier to text in shortcuts. I personally do not agree to this.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
26 Feb 07
It drives me nuts! I know I'm not the most eloquent person in the world, but I do at least put in the effort to write real words. I expect others to do the same. Like you, I agree that allowances must be made for non-native English speakers, but they aren't the ones generally typing this way. It's a major pet peeve of mine, though I have been known to use smileys. They don't detract from the ability to understand what I'm saying though, so I think that's a different issue.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
I agree. I'm willing to concede that the point of communication is to... basically... be understood. And I think that's my beef with this. Half the time, it's NOT understood, and it's filled with ambiguities because users (or user GROUPS) actually create their own "versions" that are unique to their group or clique. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that it was once "really cool" to belong to a group with it's own "secret lingo," it becomes a bit of a problem when it spills over and results in a reduced ability to communicate with the world around you.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 Feb 07
I agree with you on the different versions of text speak making it hard to understand. When I've seen ten different people write the same sentence ten different ways, I'd just rather not deal with it at all. It's just so inconsistent, and it doesn't really help get the point across. One of the things that horrified me a couple of years back is that I was talking to my father online, and he started using this kind of speak. At the time, I referred to it as "net speak", and I couldn't believe that he was using it. This is the same man who used to make me read dictionaries and regrade my papers because the teachers were "too easy on me". It totally messed up my worldview.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
Funny! You think you get past the point when your parents are an embarrassment because they do things that are so OLD... and then they go on to embarrass you by being OLD and doing things that belong with teenagers....
@bluewings (3857)
1 Mar 07
The first time I read ''Dnt use abbrvs b/c thr 2 diff 4 ppl 2 read'' I read diff as different and not difficult.I use text speak,but only in messengers.When I began using internet,I was using abbreviations generously until my mentor pointed out to me that people like what I say ,but not how I say it,referring to the abbreviations.Since then I have stopped using them on websites or forums.The only one I use these days is 'coz'.When I come across them from newer members here,I feel by the time they reach 100 posts they'd realise that Mylot doesn't take them favourably and will stop using that.I came across a discussion a few days back asking if the technology is negatively impacting the art of conversation and I had to concur.People are being miser with words to make the most of their time,but it doesn't always help things and sometimes negatively reflects on our intent.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
I'm not for a moment suggesting that there isn't an appropriate place for them. And maybe that's the point I should have included in the original post... what frustrates me is when I run into this stuff in venues that clearly bill themselves as "sites for writers." In such a setting, it's a bit like wearing muddy combat boots to a red carpet function in Hollywood... it's just out of place.
• United States
26 Feb 07
this new way of writing does not bother me. I actually think that it is cool. This generation is the FIRST to use this way. Just like our normal language changed from Shakespearean language, now we are changing.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Mar 07
I can certainly appreciate that language is changing... as well it should, to accommodate the times. The problem I have with txt abbrvs is that they are non-standard, so what means something here, means something else, somewhere else. Plus, it's the inintentional result of a design problem... namely having to use a 10-key numeric keypad for alphanumeric messages. In other words, it's an accident.
@dmillman (2273)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I can't stand it either Denmarkguy. It drives me crazy. If a discussion is started in that manner, I just skip right over it. Though, now that I use that special feature of only seeing the discussions that your friends start, I haven't had a problem with it. It's just laziness - bet it doesn't help in that obesity issue. I feel that when respond to a discussion that wasn't started in text speak, they should respond the same way. Similar as if you life in different places and have a different English speaking. If that made an sense at all. Text speak is NOT a global "language" that everyone understands, so people shouldn't assume that everyone will understand it. They're wrong, we don't understand. How can we appreciate what these people type if they can't do it in real words? It's just not right. On a seperate thing: That's good that you're can write for a living, so kudos to you!!! I'd love to write for a living, but it's taking too long - UGH!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
Yes, it does seem like "like should beget like." Thanks for the kind words-- writing "for a living" is a million miles from the glamour most people seem to hold in their minds, not to mention the perpetual battle with poverty. Writing on sites like this certainly don't generate "a living," but it IS very good practice at taking a wide array of topics and slinging out a reasonable piece of prose in a matter of just a few seconds-- in a way, an exercise in "organizing you thoughts," on the fly. The way I look at it... if I get $15 a month from writing words here I might otherwise have written in my journal for FREE, then I'm coming out ahead.
• United States
26 Feb 07
Well, I have to say that I do agree with you. Except, about the college students part. I believe that it is the high school kids that use text messaging speech the most. There are so many people who respond or write discussions in incomplete English, because they are so used to doing that in high school. Many college students (such as myself) do not use shorthand, and it is a rare thing if we do, because we are so used to writing speeches, papers, etc. It does bother me when people do that, and, sometimes, it can be difficult to read also.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
You're probably quite right that it comes from high school. I said "college," since I vaguely had this idea that you had to be 18 to write on this site, but I could be wrong about that. I actually tried shorthand when I was in college (back in the stone age), but I couldn't make as much sense of my notes as when I just wrote everything out.
@Chele2k2 (241)
26 Feb 07
I have a serious problem trying to decipher anything written in text form! I really hate it, when I get a text message full of, m8, l8r, gr8 and so on. When I ever write a text message, I will write it the same way as I would if it was pen to paper writing, the way a proper sentence was meant to be written. Often my text message, will end out being the equivalent of 3 text messages. I think i'll stick to my way and not move with the times.
• United States
26 Feb 07
To which I will kick in a footnote to messrs. Webster's assertion that "Spelling depends on common usage." As long as we keep writing things the way they are clearest to us, rather "caving in" and accepting something that doesn't make sense... then we remain part of "common usage."
@andrey35 (25)
• Romania
26 Feb 07
This New-Language so to call has bad and good things in it, but there are more bad things than good. For example it is easier to write with words like: thx, msg and here are some from my own country(ROMANIA), sal, ms, plm and many more and even ok is abbreviated to 'k'. Beside the 'good' things I know a lot of persons that even in real life speak with these abbreviation. It is unacceptable!
• United States
26 Feb 07
Andrey, I'll bring up this question for you, as I did before with another non-English person: Doesn't it make it more difficult to learn a new language and get good at it, when you are actually looking at "two languages" even though they are BOTH English?
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
i cant say that texttalk is that too bad.. I am using it especially during texts. Somehow it speed me up to text and send message.. Also the receiver find it easy to read if he/she is familiar to it.. This also help the space and characters to be sent.. But i dont use texttalk in formal chat and postings. Bad is that this tolerate the wronng spelling and grammar...
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
But you illustrate an important point, namely that you understand when it is appropriate to use it, and when it is NOT appropriate to use it... and that puts you "ahead" of a LOT of people out there.
• United States
26 Feb 07
I am with you all the way. I'm 45 and always annoyed at the deliberate destruction of years of education, billions of dollars spent on it, just for those to write like a 3-year-old talks. It is like all my years of learning down the tubes, because I have to forget all my education to instead decrypt messages that should have been typed in proper English. People forget that education teaches the brain how to think and relate, including words typed out in messages. For me, this is saying a lot since I'm a very technical person for many years now. Speaking of, can you Denmarkguy, refer some good sites who pay for writing work? Could you send me some of your samples of what you have written? There are so many scams on the Internet that makes it hard to know who to trust. I wonder how the person who always types "text message encryption in online messages" all the time, is able to think and function in the everyday world. I also wonder why they feel it is proper to expect anyone to respect what they have to say, if they cannot say it in basic proper English. I mean in your message, they obviously did not relate to you as a writer, nor respected your many years of experience as such. They were in their own little world with a narrow eye on their message. I always guess their age is below 25, or 30 at best, for the most part when I see that. I think studying the thinking and brain functions of those people would be a very good research study for phychologists. It would be a really good thesis for university students too.
• United States
26 Feb 07
Whoa! That's an eloquent response that opens some new angles. You touch on something that has been chewing at the corner of my mind for some time. As I said in an earlier response, this particular form of "English" is an outcropping from a technological "shortfall," in the sense that you're trying to type with a numeric keypad. However, will it be an inadvertent-- but unavoidable-- side effect that the use of language will be permanently changed by something that looks to me like "technology released before it's time?"
@raijin (10373)
• Philippines
26 Feb 07
I think it's more better if write in correct manner, though my primary language is not english, I try to make it a point that I can convey my words and express what I am trying to say. I too, am not used to reading 'txt msg words' used here in mylot, as I do not do it myself. Eventhough I am not that a fast typer, I do try to make the sentences that I put here in complete form. They also told me that mylot has no problem for using words, as long as it is conveyed. But I do am not with this type of style of writing, you are right, this is not a cell phone!;) And I guess, some of them are just stubborn or maybe are really having hard time in making correct spellings on using the english language. I hope that most of us would come to realize this and take it us a reminder to all of us.. I am with you my friend, good work..
• United States
26 Feb 07
Raijin, thanks for responding! English may not be your primary language, but I can easily read your writing. And something to think about-- when English is NOT your primary language, and you find this mixture of "normal" language, and "txt spk" doesn't it become more difficult to learn English? Not only are you learning new words, you have to decide what is a "real" word, and what is not. That has to be very difficult.
1 person likes this