In news that will send shivers down parents’ spines, a new report shows slang used in texting, social media and email abbreviations has led to an increase in the number of pupils failing their English GCSEs.
‘Slanglish’, the terminology today’s teens use when communicating with their friends, is the biggest downfall of students today. It was cited by 42% of tutors who responded to a survey about the most common reasons for failure. This figure has trebled since a 2015 survey.
Tutors were asked to submit the most commonly misspelt words and phrases they had encountered. The top answers including “summin”, “tonite” and “pls”. teachers and literacy experts have warned for at least ten years that texting, social media and abbreviations are taking their toll on pupils’ ability to write in formal English.
Other research has suggested that tools such as autocorrect have had a detrimental impact on spelling as there’s simply no need for students to learn how to spell correctly themselves. At the same time, the growth of texting has caused the use of abbreviations to skyrocket.
According to Jane Mellanby, director of the Oxford Group for Children’s Potential, this is worrying as young people who use language without grammatical structure may limit their career opportunities in the future.
She uncovered textspeak such as a message sent by a 13-year-old that read, “OMG ikr”, which to the uninitiated means “Oh my God, I know, right”. “Yo dude r u still coming to party Friday” was another example, this time by a 21-year-old. (Full disclosure: my own daughter, aged 16, has been known to text “Where u” when I’m late to collect her but at least knows where to draw the line between casual conversation and formal English for use in school).
Professor Mellanby commented, “These sentences do not contain grammar, and certainly not complex grammar. For youngsters who already struggle with language structure, a reliance on textspeak could compound the problem.”
Most commonly-used slang
Gonna – Going to
Summin – Something
Wanna – Want to
V – Very
Ting – Thing
Tonite – Tonight
Cus – Because
Gotta – Got to
Thinkin – Thinking
Pls – Please