Monday, November 13, 2006

Textspeak the new AAVE?

OK, maybe not. After spending a wonderful but exhausting weekend at the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference, where Raclaw's and my paper was shockingly the ONLY one about CMC (other than using the internet as a source for data), I'm a little too weary still to talk about this:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- New Zealand's high school students will be able to use "text-speak" -- the mobile phone text message language beloved of teenagers -- in national exams this year, officials said.

Text-speak, a second language for thousands of teens, uses abbreviated words and phrases such as "txt" for "text", "lol" for "laughing out loud" or "lots of love," and "CU" for "see you."

The move has already divided students and educators who fear it could damage the English language.

New Zealand's Qualifications Authority said Friday that it still strongly discourages students from using anything other than full English, but that credit will be given if the answer "clearly shows the required understanding," even if it contains text-speak.
Nevermind that I just spent a weekend trying to explain to people why I don't think names like "text-speak" or "netspeak" are very useful, and also that much of the stuff we attribute to "teenagers" is also heavily used by other groups. I'm interested in this last quote. After reading it, I immediately thought (and this is perhaps because AAVE is on my mind because it's SUCH a hot topic at NWAV), "It sounds like the way people used to talk about AAVE." Well, Black English or Ebonics, really; I don't think people who would make this statement would know to call it AAVE. But the similarity: that it's not a "full" language, but that you can somehow discern someone's understanding despite the halfsies language they're using, but the language could potentially get in the way. And that there's a debate about whether it's appropriate for use in contexts where some kind of Standard English is generally expected. And this similarity is not perhaps limited to AAVE, but it's the most well-known and well-studied dialect (here in the States) for a point of reference, with a large population of speakers and lots of debates and controversy surrounding its use.

I don't have much more of a point than that - I gotta go catch up on my schoolwork I didn't do over the weekend. CU!

ps - Our paper went well, but I might talk about it tomorrow or Wednesday instead of today. Y'all understand.

also of note - it looks like all the media sites are following CNN's example by framing this as allowing 'text speak' and the like into the schools, while the new zealand qualifications authority is actually framing this whole thing as allowing abbreviations only, and even then they're highly discouraging of it all. apparently txt abbreviations now qualify as a youth-based not-full-language or something. i agree that the way it's being framed as slightly reminiscent of the ebonics in schools controversies of the nineties, which isn't something i was expecting to see in this decade, let alone this year.

note also the swarm of negative backlash that's already popping up, e.g.

talk about the paper whenever you've fully recovered, squires ;)
(also, is that maori being used in the site banner on the NZQA site? way to go new zealand.)
my name is muhammad and i want to join the blog. i could not find the e-mail to which i should have sent my request to joi, so i had to post via comments. could you please either add me or send my the address to which i should send my request. i am very much interested in your blog...

thanx in advance

i am muhammad who sent the last comment about my desire to join the blog. i just forgot to leave my e-mail. it is mumageed at (plz relpace at by @, with no spaces of course). thanx
I felt like reading my own feelings put in words! I agree that occasionally I, too, feel very convenient to use such txt abbreviations. It was good to learn about ejournal language@internet and would send some papers to that.
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