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Short hand texting – Why we hate it

3 May 2018 KAYA VOICES


By: Natasha Archary

 

 

We get it, we’re all about keeping things short, simple and sweet too. But there is nothing more annoying or downright lazy than short-hand texters and their online lingo. It’s understandable, data charges and hefty text messaging costs have made it a necessity to smartphone users who are always looking for inventive ways to cut costs and time. We have to ask how anyone can decipher these texts because most of the abbreviated jargon makes no sense at all.

 

It’s 2018 and perhaps Skynet doesn’t need to send the terminators to wipe out humanity, our online usage and addiction to new apps may just do that for us. Social dating, communicating and media applications keep us connected to the online world around the clock. We’re always “plugged-in” and we don’t stop to consider what this means for us intellectually.

 

Michaela Cullington, put together extensive research on texting and its effects on our writing. In her article titled, “Does texting affect writing?” she tackles the question with a two-pronged approach. First questioning whether texting short-form hindered writing skills or enhanced one’s writing ability. Her research concludes that students did not use texting jargon in formal writing.

 

But this study was done in America and this however could not be further from the truth in South Africa. Late last year an article published in Times Live brought to light the countries literacy issues. The article sheds light on the devious statistic in which UNESCO lists South Africa at having a 93% literacy rate. It’s a great position to be at, but the picture is much bleaker than that.

 

According to a study by the University of Pretoria, eight out of ten Grade four pupils, still cannot read at an age appropriate level. In fact, South Africa was placed last out of fifty countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.

 

This is an alarming reality that stresses the importance of setting a good foundation in reading and writing skills. Something short-hand texting isn’t helping with. With every smartphone user in the country adapting to the online mould of what is acceptable, is it any wonder our kids are picking up on our terrible abbreviated gibberish?

 

There’s nothing more off putting than online “dating” except perhaps the endless texts. Imagine receiving a short-hand response and you have no idea how to respond, because you have no idea what it means. It took me a long time to figure this out: “2BZ4UQT”.

It’s supposed to stand for “I’m too busy for you at the moment, cutie.”

 

It’s easy to get lost in translation, teenagers have their own codes which adults are still trying to learn. There are abbreviations for cool hangout spots, feelings, to describe things that are cool and those that aren’t. It’s enough to get your head reeling. Could we go back to the days where, we wrote letters instead of shortened texts? The days we said “I love you (and meant it), instead of a quick 143.” A time where the spoken word had more meaning than two blue ticks on your screen.

 

If you hate short-hand texting, let us know by tweeting @KayaFM95dot9 using #KayaOnline


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