Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Jul 10, 2008 - Social Science - 256 pages
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. Contents List

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cbobbitt - LibraryThing

The lists of texting abbreviations from numerous languages other than Engilsh is this book's greatest strength. Otherwise, Crystal simply points out the antecedents of text messaging. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - peacox - LibraryThing

Crystal provides an informed, lucid overview to the what, who, how, and why of the global texting phenomenon. The focus is on language, but Crystal comments on social and cultural aspects of texting ... Read full review


How weird is texting?
What makes texting distinctive?
Why do they do it?
Who texts?
What do they text about?
How do other languages do it?
Why all the fuss?
English text abbreviations
Text abbreviations in eleven languages

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About the author (2008)

David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written or edited over 100 books and published numerous articles for scholarly, professional, and general readerships, in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. His books include the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (2nd edn 1997), the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (2nd edn 2003), Words, Words, Words (OUP 2006), and The Fight for English (OUP 2006).