IS SHORTCUT USE LEADING TO WORSE WRITING? Thurlow (2006) Majority of writers of 101 popular press articles said text messaging damaged English literacy.
IS SHORTCUT USE LEADING TO WORSE WRITING? YES Ream (2005) – “These kids aren’t learning to spell.” – “Kids aren’t writing letters.” – “Kids are typing shorthand jargon that isn’t even a complete thought.”
IS SHORTCUT USE LEADING TO WORSE WRITING? YES (cont.) John Humphreys (2007) "It is the relentless onward march of the texters, the SMS vandals who are doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours eight hundred years ago. They are destroying it: pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary. And they must be stopped."
IS SHORTCUT USE LEADING TO WORSE WRITING? NO Plester, Wood & Joshi (2009) Higher the ratio of textisms to words the greater the word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness Higher the frequency of contractions, symbols, letter/number homophones, and unconventional spellings the better the word reading scores.
IS SHORTCUT USE LEADING TO WORSE WRITING? NO (cont.) Misspellings were negatively related to spelling. Texting is not contributing to the demise of pre-teen children’s literacy.
TEENS’ VIEWS ON WRITING Lenhart, Arafeh, Smith & Macgill (2008) 86% Good writing is important to success in life. 11% Electronic communication, which includes textisms, harms writing. 73% Electronic communication has no impact on writing.
TEENS’ USE OF TEXTISMS Lenhart, Arafeh, Smith & Macgill (2008) 64% use some type of informal writing in school writing assignments. 50% remove capitalization and punctuation. 38% use shortcuts such as LOL. 25% use emoticons.
PURPOSE OF CSUDH STUDY CSUDH research team conducted two studies to determine whether use of textisms in daily electronic communication was correlated to quality of writing.
HOW CSUDH’S STUDY DIFFERS FROM PREVIOUS STUDIES CSUDH’s research team Used writing samples, instead of standardized tests, to gauge mastery of English language. Directly queried respondents about their use of different textisms in their electronic communication.
HOW CSUDH’S STUDY DIFFERS FROM PREVIOUS STUDIES (cont.) Focused on young adults (18 to 25). Investigated role level of education played in relationship between textisms and writing.
VARIABLES Frequency of use of textisms in communication, including text messaging, e-mail, IM, Facebook. Ability to write, formally and informally.
HOW MEDIA AND TEXTISM USE WERE MEASURED Surveyed 718 young adults (ages 18 to 25) on how often they Used a cell phone (minutes/month) Sent text messages (# messages/month) Used a variety of textisms in their electronic communication (never, rarely, sometimes or often).
HOW WRITING ABILITY WAS MEASURED Assessed respondents’ mastery of writing Formal (study 1 and study 2) Informal (study 2).
FORMAL WRITING PROMPT STUDY 1 AND STUDY 2 Pretend that you want to complain to a company from which you bought a product. Write a letter to the company manager complaining about the quality of service that you received or the product itself and what you want the company to do about it.
INFORMAL WRITING PROMPT STUDY 2 Please describe in detail what it feels like to be unhappy. What should a person do to become happy again?
WRITING ASSESSMENT SCORING Two raters assessed writing samples according to Graduate Writing Exam (GWE) criteria 6 = highest (superior) 1 = lowest (incompetent)
RATING OF 6 (SUPERIOR) “On 2008-03-17, I purchased a television set from your company. It is non-operational. When I inquired in store about receiving a replacement, I was instructed to write to the manager - hence my letter. Since I paid for the television in full and received a faulty unit, I would like to have a replacement television delivered to my house at your earliest convenience…”
RATING OF 4 (ADEQUATE) “To my dissatisfaction i have found out that your product is inferior to my expectation. it doesn't justify the price that i paid for and, thus i would like to get refunded. i wouldn't write this letter unless i would feel strongly negative about my acquisition. i have bought from company before, and i will continue to do so.”
RATING OF 2 (INADEQUATE) “to whom it may concern i purchased your produt last week and i have to say that i am very disipointed in it frankly it is a peace of c--p can you please refund my money.”
INTERRATER RELIABILITY Study 1 formal letter:.86*** Study 2 formal letter:.85*** Study 2 informal sample:.93*** ***p<.001
DEMOGRAPHICS STUDY 1STUDY 2 Age (18 to 25)335383 Gender Male38%43% Female62%57% Educational level College degree25%16% Some college65%66% No college10%18%
HYPOTHESIS 1 DISCUSSION Hypothesis 1 was supported. Why? Psychosocial functions served by SMS. – Females: maintain relationships – Males: convey concrete information (Reid & Reid, 2005). –The former function of texting could require more time to “text" or more messages to achieve.
HYPOTHESIS 2 Those young adults who use more textisms in their electronic communication will produce better writing.
HYPOTHESIS 2 RESULTS CORRELATION BETWEEN TEXTISMS AND FORMAL WRITING SCORES TYPE OF TEXTISM ALL RESPONDENTS NO COLLEGESOME COLLEGE Shortened words -.14***-.31**-.12* Total linguistic textisms -.10*---.11* Smilies.08**.31**-- *p<.05 **p<.01 ***p<.001
HYPOTHESIS 2 RESULTS CORRELATIONS BETWEEN TEXTISMS AND INFORMAL WRITING SCORES TYPE OF TEXTISMALL RESPONDENTS NO COLLEGESOME COLLEGE Lowercase “i”-- -.15* Omission of apostrophes --.27*-- Emotional states--.28*-- All caps--.26*-- Total contextual textisms --.35*-- *p<.05
HYPOTHESIS 2 RESULTS CORRELATIONS BETWEEN FREQUENCY OF TEXT MESSAGING AND WRITING SCORES For the group that had some college, the more frequently respondents sent text messages The worse the formal writing score The better the informal writing score
HYPOTHESIS 2 DISCUSSION Hypothesis 2 was partially supported. Results suggest that the relationship between writing and textisms varies depending on – Type of writing – Level of education.
HYPOTHESIS 2 DISCUSSION WHY USE OF LINGUISTIC TEXTISMS IS NEGATIVELY CORRELATED WITH FORMAL WRITING QUALITY No college education Shortened words Possibly have difficulty thoroughly expressing their complaint.
HYPOTHESIS 2 DISCUSSION WHY USE OF TEXTISMS IS POSITIVELY CORRELATED WITH INFORMAL WRITING QUALITY No college education Emotional topic Increased daily writing output Better essay or response
HYPOTHESIS 3 The use of textisms in writing will be low. (Textism density will be less than 5% of total text.)
HYPOTHESIS 3 RESULTS Fewer than 25% used linguistic textisms. 5% used contextual textisms. Average textism density was approximately 2.5%. Respondents, on average, included between 2 and 3 textisms per writing sample. Those with more education used fewer.
HYPOTHESIS 3 DISCUSSION Hypothesis 3 was supported.
STRENGTHS OF STUDY Required respondents to write formal and informal writing samples. Surveyed respondents on frequency of texting and textism use in everyday electronic communication.
LIMITATIONS OF STUDY Group that had no college education was not asked if they planned to attend college. Group that had some college was not asked how advanced they were in their studies.
CONCLUSION Significant relationships between texting behavior and literacy. Results unique to CSUDH study – Negative associations between use of linguistic textisms in everyday electronic communication and skill in formal writing. – Positive associations between use of textisms and skill in informal writing.
CONCLUSION (cont.) –Negative associations between texting and literacy moderated by gender and by level of education.
FUTURE RESEARCH Theory of transfer of skills--relationship between skill set involved in electronic communication and writing ability. Longitudinal study—change in text messagers’ writing ability over time.
FUTURE RESEARCH (cont.) Extension of current study—other factors related to writing ability –Parents and teachers’ writing ability –Socioeconomic class
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