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Instructing Slang and Idioms may be a tedious task for a teacher, but it can convey a necessary understanding of the cultural communication. I want to discuss the importance of instructing this vital means of communication after quickly examining the backlash against texting slang from the community. In the day and age when students of all ages are online and available through assorted forms of social media and mobile devices, the language that they are using should be reexamined. The slang that is used in texting, tweeting, emailing, chatting, IMing, facebooking, etc. has become a pervasive form of conveying the written word. I believe that instructing this form of slang head on would have a positive effect in helping students from a cultural perspective. It seems that some students cannot tell the difference between standard academic english and the lingo that they text with. More often than not, english teachers are complaining because their native english
speaking students attempt to complete papers/ essays using such contemporary texting language, and students are dissuaded from such inappropriate use of abbreviations (Bennett). An eighth grade language arts teacher at a middle school in Illinois said that the main problem with students using this textese dialect into their curriculum “is with improper use of punctuation, lower casing letters and shortening words.”(Bowman) Texting has created a language that is, in a sense, the antithesis of Academic english. Other linguists such as David Crystal concentrate on the positive effects that texting has had on the english language in his studies 2b or not 2b and Txting The Gr8 Deb8 and views textese as a modern and novel invention that is being used to turn the language into new and fresh directions . Understanding the nuances of textese and academic english will help the students
note the similarities as well as the differences. Perhaps the formal instruction of slang may highlight the differences between academic english versus its colloquial equivalent . Knowing the subtleties of this new emerging form of writing is necessary in understanding the culture from which it comes . Instructing Culture can work in assorted ways in introducing slang into the curriculum. One way is that the slang teaches a student, who may be a novice english learner, an actual real life situation. Should a student be studying abroad in an english speaking country and receive a text message from a friend saying, “Mt u 2nite @ 6 cul8r” having a familiarity with this texting language will help the student understand what is being said. Another way is that it teaches english students (of all levels and backgrounds) material that is enjoyable and familiar to them. Heiyo Reinders suggests the use of text messaging in a circular writing
activity to redirect the students' interests. She states that students associate “writing in the school context with boring assignments and a punitive environment of criticism and negative feedback,” thereby concluding that students do not like to write because the fun is drained from the atmosphere of the academic environment. Her suggestion to include text messaging in lesson and activity planning is important because it invokes the students' engagement and works off of their interests. Students learn a language for many reasons and should be as engaged as possible in the material that they are studying. Teaching slang should be an element that is part of the teaching curriculum so that students may make the comparisons between the different forms of language, be prepared when exposed to a real life situations, and also to engage their interests. Captivating your students by presenting them with material that is contemporary may not be the classical approach, but it is an important approach and should be considered when teaching native english speakers as well as students who are studying english as
a target language. Textese teaches culture because it teaches a social and communicative phenomenon. Teaching academic english can be enriched through teaching its slang equivalent. Works Cited Amazon.com search: Twisted Classics (adding monsters, zombies, vampires, demons) http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Classics-monsters-zombies-vampires/lm/R2L6EBZASTKOY0 Baker, Jen. “Vampires and Classic Literature: Using Popular YA Novels to Teach the Classics.” Updated on 11/27/2009 at 12:58 p.m. for the NCTE 2009 Annual Convention Sessions and Presenter Materials- Philadelphia, PA http://ncte2008.ning.com/forum/topics/vampires-and-classic Bonnett, Jennifer. “english teachers see texting language in essays” Updated on: 6/29/2011 11:26 a.m. http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_806ba51e-c1f7-512b-aac2-d17640f422a1.html Bonnington, Christina. “Text Messaging Habits Leveling Off, Alternatives Abound.” Gadget Lab: Hardward that Rocks your world. September 20, 2011 4:34 pm. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/09/text-messaging-habits-2011/ Bowman,
Christine. “Do We Still Think That Texting Can Help Reading Skills?” Reading Horizons: The Foundation for Reading english 4/12/2011 http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/post/2011/04/12/Texting-and-Reading-Improvement.aspx Crystal, David. “2b or not 2b” For the Guardian, Friday 4, July 2008 http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jul/05/saturdayreviewsfeatres.guardianreview Crystal, David. “David Crystal on the Myth of Texting.” September 18, 2008. Visual Thesaurus Word Count: Writers talk about writing http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wc/1532/ Crystal, David. “Gr8 Db8 Defends the Linguistics Of Texting.” (on npr books) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97700573 Huang, Lily. “The Death of english. LOL” August 1, 2008 http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/08/01/the-death-of-english-lol.html (In an experiment, the more adept children were at text messaging, the better
they did in spelling and writing.) Refers to “textese” as the Text english dialect Manning, Randall C. Texting Dictionary of Acronyms. CG Publishing, usa 2009. Mick, Jason. “Textese Cell Phone Language Emerges: Cn U Rd Ths?” December 10, 2008 written for Daily Tech http://www.dailytech.com/Textese+Cell+Phone+Language+Emerges+Cn+U+Rd+Ths/article13645.htm Reiners. Hayo. “Twenty Ideas for Using Mobile Phones in the Language Classroom.” http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum/archives/docs/forum-10-48-03/48_3_4_reinders.pdf Published by: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. U.S. Department of State Rucynski, John. “Using The Simpsons in efl Classes.” http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum/archives/docs/forum-11-49-01/49_1_3_rucynski.pdf Sad, Suleyman Nihat. “Using Mobile Phone Technology in efl
Classes.” http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum/archives/docs/08-46-4-f.pdf Published by: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. U.S. Department of State Urban Dictionary (Online Dictionary of contemporary/ colloquial words, phrases, and expressions) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=textese
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