Is texting creative, or is it damaging the English language?

Expert Answers
wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We must remember that a language is an ever-changing instrument, employed to communicate ideas, information, etc.  It is true that there are many formal “rules” for the expression of long-living, carefully thought out communications, and the so-called “grammatical” rules are to be used in such communications, and are affected by history in all kinds of ways. But texting is something else – it is a conversation in the present, meant to join two or more thinkers at the moment of their creation of a thought.  As such, it can be quite creative, as in abbreviations and stock phrases, none of which need to follow the rules of a longer, thought out, “permanent” communication.  In speech (and texting is closer to speech than to writing) the only criterion is that sender and receiver share the same code.  If the code was Morse Code, and the receiver didn’t know Morse Code, there would be no communication.  As for “damage” to the English language, such fears or accusations are groundless.

StephanieRR | Student

I would say "damaging" is the wrong word for what texting does to English, as no matter what style someone adopts in their texts, the English language will not suddenly break down and morph forever into that one particular style. I have to follow this statement, however, with a comment that I personally find it insulting to the English language. There is really no excuse for "riting lyk dis wen txtng a bff." While I do not expect a person to have perfect grammar or consult the MLA handbook when sending texts, I feel there is a point when the writing style crosses over from convenience to utter laziness. Perhaps this is the English major in me rearing its ugly head, but if people are going to only write in the aforementioned style, they should at least acknowledge how far it has fallen from the other forms of written English. In fact, I must not be entirely alone in this opinion, as that form of writing is commonly referred to as "text speak," giving it a label that places it in a sub-category of the language.  I feel a language deserves some level of respect, and I cringe when I see such a complex and versatile language broken down to a shell of its former self to shave off a few seconds of typing time. It would follow, then, that I would also say such forms of texting might be creative in the sense that people find some really bizarre ways of spelling words (c u l8r! u 2!), but not creative in the sense that with such a focus on shortening words and sentences, there is very little room to have fun with the language and demonstrate how beautiful it can be!