TextingCalling the choppy language of text messaging a scourge on society would not be controversial. But Columbia linguistics professor John McWhorter has a different interpretation. He thinks texting, with its abbreviations and odd constructions and novel usage, is “a linguistic miracle happening right under our noses.” “A whole new language has developed among our young people doing something as mundane as batting around when they’re using their little devices,” he said in a talk at the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif. The trick is realizing that there’s a difference between written language and spoken language, according to McWhorter. “Texting is fingered speech. Now we can write the way we talk,” he said. It’s very natural to decry the decline of formal language — in fact, McWhorter found a citation as old as 63 A.D. of someone bemoaning the corruption of written Latin.

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About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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