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Globe Editorial

the revenge of e.e. cummings

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April 29, 2008

(Item: A new study warns that writing text messages could hurt a writer's command of standardized English.)

WE HAD to LOL when we read how txt-msg lingo is replacing stndrd english in student academic pprs. 1 casualty of da trend is uz of capital letter to start a sentence. kids feel free to lowercase everything. pnktu8n is also dissed. tchaz try to help but its often 2 l8.

new paragraphs r not uzed in txting either. kids prolly think all dis iz ok cuz even Richard Sterling, emeritus xecutiv director of the ntl riting prjct, gives it the nod. natl riting prjct is sposd 2 improve riting instruxn in americas schoolz.

"i think in the future, capitalization will disappear," he sed in the nytimes. 4 lazy students dis is 2G2BT!

a big natl study by the College Board and Pew Project on the Internet and American Life finds teenagers riting more b/c of txting but in a hybrid language with conventions of its own: call it Textlish. they don't consider it frml english but 64 percent admit it seeps into their writing at school.

we get da need for shorthand when thumbs fly on tiny keypads. but we thot technology wd enhance communication, not blur every boundary b/w frml language and slang. and dont even get us started on emoticons!

1 yng friend of rs recently sent us a hand-ritten thank-u note. we were thrilled at 1st but her spelling wuz awful b/c deres no spellcheck for pen and ppr. same ish w/ txting. ppl get uzd 2 slang and 4get the real words. btw, all of us w/ email addresses r guilty 2, since email usernames r all lowercase and include many weird squiggles. somehow, tho, gnr8ns of secys managed to transl8 Gregg or Pitman shorthand squiggles n2 grammatically correct correspondence 4 their bosses.

well, tempora quid faciunt. dis not lingo but latin: times change. early america's founders wud uppercase almost every noun; maybe Sterling really is a visionary. Still, on the 25th anniversary of "A Nation at Risk," the seminal report on America's educational challenges, who wudda thot the big threat to riting wd b the cellfone?

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