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It's OK to keep AIMing 305

Posted by timothy
from the dat's-what-u-think-lol dept.
fooby12 writes "According to the Univeristy of Toronto instant messaging does not hurt the grammar of the people who use it. From the article: "With 80% of Canadian teenagers using instant messaging and adopting its unique linguistic shorthand, many teachers and parents are concerned about the medium's potential to corrupt kids' grammar. But instant messaging doesn't deserve its bad reputation as a spoiler of syntax, suggests a new study from the University of Toronto.""
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It's OK to keep AIMing

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  • NO WAI! (Score:3, Funny)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:25PM (#15820164) Homepage Journal
    My first thought, of course, was:

      {o,o}
      |)__)
      -"-"-
    O RLY?

    {o.o}
    |)_(|
    -"-"-
    YA RLY

      {o,o}
      (__(|
      -"-"-
    NO WAI!

    (Courtesy of the usual suspects [wikipedia.org])
    • Re:NO WAI! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by waveclaw (43274) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:45PM (#15820857) Homepage Journal
      I never thought the grammar and spelling quality of the 'average' person was declining due to AIM'ng, SMS, etc. What I have belived is that the smart people are already on the 'net. In a pervese variation of Metcalf's Law, each new person that gets on is much more likely to be an idiot that detracts from the 'net than benefit it. With nearly every US teenager on, everybody gets to see what mass produced education has done to your mass produced USA 'citizen.' It's not that the average product of the US public education system's skills declined, they just always sucked. Nobody knew it because those poor at writing either hid it well or stayed away from situations that required it.

      Fortunately we have the Internet with places like slashdot, where everybody's bad grammar and spelling can shine.

      (And when I starting talking in l33t3, just do what a guy I knew does: go to the mall. Being around all the Valley-speak tends to normalize the speech centers somewhat.)
  • Bad terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:25PM (#15820165) Homepage
    What changes when people write on Messenger is mainly spelling. Spelling is part of the lexicon, and the lexicon is not "grammar". Grammar consists of phonology, morphology, and syntax, and I've never seen any of those parts of the English language being butchered by netspeak.
    • Re:Bad terminology (Score:5, Informative)

      by iMaple (769378) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:32PM (#15820251)
      And even if it does change the language a little bit, thats to be expected. Languages (esp English isnt static) so this is just part of the normal evolution process of the language(albeit a little quicker than the past). Personally I do have a hard time reading netspeak but then it does remind me of Chaucer sometimes :)

      eg.
      That it was May thus dremed me
      In time of love and jollite
      That al thyng gynneth waxen gay
      For there is neither busk nor hay
      In May that it nyl shrouded ben,
      And it with new leves wryen.
      These greves eke recoveren grene,
      That dry in wynter ben to sen,
      And the erthe waxeth proude withal
      For swete dewes that on it falle . . .

      Maybe thats why the can still do well in their English classes.
      • At least Chaucer had a larger vocabulary than "r u hawt u want 2 cybr?" and knew that "LOL" was not a punctuation mark, much less a full stop.
      • Chaucer:

        That it was May thus dremed me
        In time of love and jollite
        That al thyng gynneth waxen gay
        For there is neither busk nor hay
        In May that it nyl shrouded ben,
        And it with new leves wryen.
        These greves eke recoveren grene,
        That dry in wynter ben to sen,
        And the erthe waxeth proude withal
        For swete dewes that on it falle . . .

        'Tweener Net

        in mAY i hd a drem
        like a stry it seems
        i luv it now lol
        tht all that ssht is kewl
        May has these prety leeves
        Fck hey its green like sleves
        Winter sukked so flipin cold
        gimme a light
    • Re:Bad terminology (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) *
      I've never seen any of those parts of the English language being butchered by netspeak.

      Because it arrived prebutchered.

      S'ok, if you think it's bad now, you should have seen what was happening to it in the 1500s.

      KFG
    • Disclaimer: I am only a beginning linguistics student

      More importantly, people tend not to use it in actual speech, though I've heard a few people actually say "LOL", as in, "El oh el" out loud. Since most netspeak is abbreviations and acronyms used to save time, there's really no point in saying "IIRC", "AFAIK", "OMG", or "NSFW" in person.

      Okay, I have heard people use "WTF?" in person, but that may be just a way of self-censoring obscenities.
  • by Neoncow (802085) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:26PM (#15820175) Journal
    The title of the story has it all wrong. 'lol' does not require an exclamation mark. It is implied. These lingusts should learn how to IM. lol
    • Ah, but that is where you are quite wrong, since even within the lol-family of iChars, there are subtle differences between the amount and force of laughter implied by the lol-family member being used.

      A simple "l" is a short chuckle.
      Adding the exclamation point, "l!", gives the chuckle a short punctuality, more like a chortle.
      Capitalizing it adds volume, so that "L!" is a loud chortle.

      "lol" is a soft laugh. "lol!" is a short, soft laugh. "LOL!" is a short, loud laugh.

      Moving up in the lol-family, we have "
  • that is gd (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheOldSchooler (850678) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:26PM (#15820176)
    i wuz wurried that im'n 2 much wuz m/king me 4get gd gremmer.
  • To the Contrary! (Score:4, Informative)

    by dshaw858 (828072) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:27PM (#15820186) Homepage Journal
    I've used AIM and IRC excessively in the past few years, and it has led me to getting a nearly perfect score on my English SAT exams. Just because some p30p3l tlk lik this dosnt meen that omg all of u r going 2 be liek th1s. Some people may actually improve based on the widespread use of IMs, just like emails or passing notes in class...

    - dshaw
    • I've used AIM and IRC excessively in the past few years, and it has led me to getting a nearly perfect score on my English SAT exams.

      No, it hasn't. I'd be willing to bet you didn't learn a single word or skill from AIM that was applicable to the SAT. Most of the important vocabulary words are picked up in reading, not every day speech, and the reading comprehension skills for the SAT are drastically different from what you would use in conversation. You can't even say it didn't hurt, because you have n

    • by Distinguished Hero (618385) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:17PM (#15820649) Homepage
      I've used AIM and IRC excessively in the past few years, and it has led me to getting a nearly perfect score on my English SAT exams.

      I'm pretty sure that "it has led me to getting" is grammatically incorrect. You might want to try "it has led to me getting" instead; while it involves splitting an infinitive, a practice frowned upon by some, I believe it to be far more correct than your version.
      Some people may actually improve based on the widespread use of IMs, just like emails or passing notes in class...

      Furthermore, "just like emails or passing notes in class" is not a complete clause, so I don't believe your other sentence to be grammatically correct either. I intend no offense; however, you attaining a near perfect sore on your "SAT exam" may say more about the aptitude of the SAT to measure your proficiency with the English language than it does about your own aptitude.

      P.S. English is my third language. If I have made any grammatical mistakes in my post, feel free to correct them; however, if you do happen to come across such mistakes, please keep my ameliorating circumstance in mind.
      • You might want to try "it has led to me getting" instead

        Actually, the correct form in English is 'it has lead to my getting.' It could also be made syntactically correct with the addition of a comma, although the semantics would be slightly different.

        English is my third language

        Which probably explains your grasp of grammar. In my experience, foreign language grammar is much better taught than native language grammar.

      • The SAT verbal exam primarily tests vocabulary. I believe the new writing exam would be a more accurate measurement of the grandfather's grammar.

        I have to also agree with the sibling post that native grammar is often much worse than foreign language grammar - I learned more about grammar in Spanish class then I did in English class, which mostly focused on literature and vocabulary (much to my detriment). However, in talking to my adult peers, this seems to be a product of my school's curriculum, not necess
  • by Trashhalo (985371) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:27PM (#15820193) Homepage
    Is much worse for spelling than instant messaging ever was. If I spell a word wrong and it gets fixed then I never know I spelled it wrong. I doubt there are many people out there who think they are typing correcting when really they are using net speak.
    • While I don't dispute your experience, I have to say that word processors (or IM clients) that flag suspect words has actually improved my spelling. I see the mispelled words so often that I start making a mental note of the ones I screw up the most, one at a time. I'm a lousy speller, but I actually find that that is helping.
      • While I don't dispute your experience, I have to say that word processors (or IM clients) that flag suspect words has actually improved my spelling. I see the mispelled words so often that I start making a mental note of the ones I screw up the most, one at a time.

        I agree with you on this. I also replied to the parent post, but there is a huge difference between when the software shows you the mistake, perhaps suggesting an alternative, and when it simply "fixes" it. For example, open Microsoft Word and typ
    • Most of the time, autocorrect helps me with my lack of typing ability rather than actually correcting a word that I did not know how to spell. But I still prefer the red underline, so you have to fix it yourself.

      To me, AIM called instant attention to spelling lazyness, not grammar issues. I thought it was an AIM-borne disease where one by one my friends all started to use 'your' in place of "you're." I think it's an easy place to pick up bad speaking habits, but that's certainly nothing new... people pic
  • It ain't done had no effect on me. I'm gonna IM 4ever.

    Careful where you keep that chat history active though. Never know what your sysadmin finds interesting.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:28PM (#15820210) Homepage
    My mom always complained, and I've finally matured enough to see why. I used to have decent hand writing. But now that I've gone thru comps sci in college and site 8 hours a day at work on a pc, my hand writing sucks. I find myself printing always, no cursive. I find myself abbreviating and using those stupid instant messaging shorthand. It's terrible. The most annoying part is I can type 100+ wpm, and can't write anywhere near that, so I am thinking about the next sentence before I've even handwritten the first ... and thus a lot of times I loose my thoughts. Good news for me though is that I don't think the art of good hand-writing is coming back anytime soon, so I think I'll be ok.
    • a lot of times I loose my thoughts

      Good thing you don't lose them before you have a chance to loose them.
    • by guaigean (867316) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:40PM (#15820345)
      Cursive isn't really a necessity, just another preference of some people. The idea that cursive is more or less elegant is simply a passing fad. As for hand-writing versus typing, of course typing is much faster. It's sensible to do so, and is reasonable to type rather than write in many cases. The only reason people get in a tizzy over things like this is that they believe their language should be "pure". In reality, the only pure languages are dead languages. Any evolving language is subject to large tranformations, and just because the previous generation of linguists or literature majors doesn't agree with something doesn't mean it is wrong. After all, english is quite a different language today than it once was. Who's to say it will even be recognizable in years to come as such?
      • Can I get you to follow me around Slashdot, and post that every time someone corrects me for using a word in its common, modern meaning, rather than the way it was used a couple hundred years ago in some other country?

        Thanks. Much appreciated.
    • Please post your private self indulgent thoughts on you personal blog and leave this forum for insults, FUD, and trolling. Thank you.
    • No, your mom was wrong. Typing quickly is a more important skill for you to have than writing quickly. And if this ever changes, then you'll rapidly become better at writing quickly as you get more practice.

      There's nothing intrinsically better about being able to write quickly compared with being able to type quickly. It's a type of old-fashioned snobbery.

    • The most annoying part is I can type 100+ wpm, and can't write anywhere near that...

      Who can!? You realize, I hope, that it takes years of experience with shorthand to get to writing that fast (though some savants have gotten up to 350 wpm).

      Normal handwriting tops out at about 50 wpm for people good at it, according to what I've read.
    • I've become terribly dyslexic at handwriting, skipping letters and then having to go back and fill them in after finishing the next letter. I think I get ahead of myself because I'm a much faster typer. I'm always almost the last person to finish filling out forms in a group.
  • by PoitNarf (160194) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:31PM (#15820244)
    Well now I know this is BS, because whenever I am speaking to a Canadian they mispell common words like color and flavor! For some reason they put a u in between the o and the r. It must be some new l33t speak or something...
  • Maybe it's just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:32PM (#15820259) Journal
    But my brain is 'asploding' from the posts so far in this thread with their 'lolz' and their 'plz' and their 'orly'. Get off my lawn, yada yada.

    From a business perspective, I've seen college graduates emailing using the typical IM abbreviations -- but typically, when reminded that it's not appropriate, I'd say that the grammar of these new hires tends to be as good or better than some of what I see elsewhere. At least they've been communicating in a non-verbal format.

    If anything, I find that those who have IM'd a lot tend to have an easier time of getting their message across clearly in emails -- maybe it's due to their understanding of the shortfalls of text communication.
  • Back in the '80s, parents were worried that kids would try to copy Max Headroom's stuttering.

    ...WTF were they thinking? S-s-s-seriously! No-No-No one would ever t-t-t-talk like th-th-that.

    (I need a Coca Cola! Haah!)

  • And obviously my grammar has suffered horribly. I doubt any of you can understand me right now, in fact.
  • NO, it's NOT! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:37PM (#15820315) Journal
    BAD headline! BAD!

    NOT AIM! [jabber.org]
  • Not True (Score:2, Funny)

    by mcguiver (898268)
    What makes them think that chatting is going to cause the kids grammer to be worse? After looking at some of the papers coming in from kids I don't think that their grammer could get much worse no matter what they did. Of course, some of the teachers that I know spend so much time chatting too, they probably think that writing like that is normal.
  • But instant messaging doesn't deserve its bad reputation as a spoiler of syntax, suggests a new study from the University of Toronto.

    I vaguely remember my English teachers telling me not to start sentences with "but." I think that may also be a run-on sentence.
  • Eh?
  • I'm reminded (Score:4, Informative)

    by dr_dank (472072) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:39PM (#15820333) Homepage Journal
    I'm reminded of this letter I saw in the NY Times in 1999 likening the coming of the internet to the downfall of the english language:


    To the Editor:

    A Feb. 20 Arts & Ideas pages article on the Internet's effect on language failed to bring the potential negative and positive consequences to their logical conclusion: the widespread acceptance of informal dialogue on the Internet is creating a generation of Americans fluent in unrefined, inexpressive and immature English.

    Much as certain dialects of English have helped create subclasses of second-class citizens, frequent Internet users are becoming easier to pick out every day; they blurt out thoughts in staccato, almost barbarian fragments. Elegant grammar is beside the point; complete sentences are rare enough.
  • also in the news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121)
    telegram abbrvs not responsible for poor victorian grammar STOP shorthand essential part of communication STOP language shaped by effeciency STOP.
  • Could it get worse if it's bad to begin with?

    Maybe bad grammer isn't a bad thing. The main point is everyone can understand you. What's a difference between "me and my friend" and "my friend and I" to someone who doesn't have a rule book in their head? Maybe it's evolution of language.. losing the unecessary fluff and I guess unecessary letter with it.
  • I am a fairly capable writer, and when the need arises to express a point clearly and with some creative use of language, I usually am up for the task.

    havin said that, when i m on im im concenred about getting the point across quickly and with the least amout of keyboard travel as possible, spellin and grammar take a backseat to speed and more importntaly flow of conversation....

    Ok, back into "refined mode". I do find it interesting that I don't bother to correct spelling while conversing on IM, particularl
    • And it took me a few seconds of thinking to decode that you meant "Having said that, when I am on IM I'm concerned about...". That certainly doesn't do anything but impede the flow of "conversation", rather than expedite it. Just use a full word. It doesn't take that long to type.
    • There is certainly a place for both formal and informal language usage. For personal communications, develop whatever slang, jargon, catchphrases, or shorthand you desire. For formal, academic, and business communications, keep it proper. One would hope most people could make that transition.

      Unfortunately, I do believe we, as an American culture, are too content to allow too much departure from proper English in many areas. I'm no language purist or grammar expert by any means, but just listen to our t
      • For better or worse, languages change over time (although the French think they can stop it!). The increasing informality of American English may just be part of that transition.

        That's an interesting speculation. A couple hundred years ago, many English words didn't have universally agreed upon spelling. (Think email vs. e-mail, except for many, many more words.)

        As schooling became more and more common, standardization of spelling and grammar increased steadily. Now that the percentage of the population

  • by weasello (881450)
    Of course, studies also show that 150 years ago English was a whole lot better spoken and written than it is today - you know, top hats and tea time and Ma'ams and Sirs all 'round. Hell, barkeeps in the Wild West talk more eloquently than I do (and I think that's the first time the word 'eloquently' has passed through my head in years). This is obviously due to instant messaging and IRC. If I lived in the US I'd be filing a lawsuit against... whoever maintains this series of tubes.
  • Maybe I'm totally wrong here, but half the people at my school use IM-speak even in class assignments (as in minimum-6-page-paper-plus-bibliography type assignments)... and I somehow doubt that stuff like Wal-Mart's latest back-to-school "Foreign Language" ad thing – the one showing various cell phones, pagers, etc. with horrible IM-speak – is really helping much. Although maybe it's just me?
  • by Aabra (775518) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:48PM (#15820408) Homepage
    Blatently ripped from Eats, Shoots & Leaves :) Dear Jack, I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours? Jill Dear Jack, I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours, Jill
  • by Retired Replicant (668463) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:48PM (#15820413)
    People used to write telegrams in short, incomplete sentences in order to save money on the transmission by reducing the length of the message, and as far as I know it didn't hurt anybody's grammar.
  • I agree.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MattS423 (987689) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:58PM (#15820496)
    I've been AIMing for years, and I can write a coherent sentance. In fact, with the latest speech-to-text programs, I don't even have to use AIM shorthand...i can just speak and dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all.
  • I don't particularly care what or how people talk to each other when IM'ing. The problem is that when they try to use the same constructs and shorthands in a different context (e-mail, say), they come across like half-wits.

    If studies also indicate they are perfectly capable of using decent english (or whatever) but just choose not...

    c.
  • Kids These Days (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 8ball629 (963244)
    And what were they considering to do about it? Ban IMing in Canada?

    What are kids going to do to increase their grammar if they can't IM their friends? Sure some will write stories, journals and poetry but that isn't going to be a majority of kids. If they aren't practicing language in one way or another than their language skills will be far worse than "tainted IM language."

    This is just another case of "oh no, the internet is evil" just like rock and roll was evil in the '50s O_o (what would that b
  • I think it helps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edmicman (830206) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:03PM (#15820543) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I think using chat rooms when I was younger and ultimately IM-ing has made me a much better typist. It improved my skills so that I am able to type quickly and accurately. Poor grammar and writing skills exist whether you are using pen, pencils, paper, or computers. It is a sign of not caring, not of the medium. You can write shorthand, scribble on a scrap piece of paper, etc. just as easy as you can type gibberish.

    • I learned to type by mudding and playing Angband.

      Instant messaging hasn't hurt my spelling or grammar - I now type fast enough to use normal English when messaging.

    • As a member of perhaps the last generation to make it through high school without ever being required to use a computer for typing papers, I think the advent of computers has increased grammar and clarity in writing overall, because it has dramatically increased the speed and ease of editing.

      If you are old enough, then think for a minute about writing in school. How often did you actually write second and third drafts? I bet it was only when the teacher required it. Now, I rewrite parts all the time, e

  • This isn't meant to be a "racist" or anti-outsourcing rant but...

    why is it that so many people from India use the "u" and "r" shortening in semi-formal business communication? I was wondering if it was a prevelance of IMing there...

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