When students write online, they use the Internet abbreviations that can test the nerves of readers used to standard written English. “Kids Have Their Own Language,” an article from WCPO-TV9, discusses how language shortcuts like LOL and G8 have become part of the everyday lingo for todays students. The article touches on the conflict between this online language and the language of standard written English:
Given the popularity of texting and instant messaging, she said its no surprise that educators are finding more of the language in school classwork.As Rimer suggests, we need to focus on the fact that kids are writing. They are communicating with other friends, expressing themselves, and having fun with language. What more could a writing teacher ask for?
“They use it as a communication tool and, so when they write quickly, they will in a journal or informal writing assignment, it will come out as their shorthand for what they write.”
Rather than be viewed as a negative, [Beth] Rimer said at least kids are communicating . . . even if we dont always know what about.
I know. I know. We want them to make informed language decisions, but this challenge is not new. The slang and lingo of the moment has crept into students writing for as long as there have been students. All we have to do is talk about how audience and purpose relate to language use in a wider range of circumstances.
When I talk about audience and purpose with students, I usually propose writing situations and ask students to decide what kind of language is appropriate: What kind of language do you use in a letter to the editor of the school paper? What word choice is appropriate in a lab report? How would you adjust the language of a message about the same topic to two different audiences? In addition, however, we need to talk about the times when students are welcome to use Internet abbreviations. Consider the following possibilities:
- What abbreviations are appropriate in personal journal entries?
- What kind of language should you use on a peer review form?
- What abbreviations can you use in the comments you write on someone elses draft?
- Can you use emoticons (or smileys) on the class e-mail list?
- What language is appropriate for class blog entries and comments on class blogs?