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Critical Analysis of John Humphrys' Article “I H8 Txt Msgs”

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Critical Analysis of John Humphrys' Article “I H8 Txt Msgs”

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  • August 1, 2012
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The article I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language, by John Humphrys, addresses text messaging as a threat to people's ability to engage formally in use of the English language; especially in the younger generation. John Humphrys takes a unique perspective when analyzing the practice of text messaging. Humphrys focuses on the present and mainstream uses of text messaging, without analyzing the historical processes and the language values of the so called text speak. This paper will argue against John Humphrys' claim. Text messaging is a valid form of language as it; has been created through historical and social processes; holds a set of unique and evolving characteristics; and therefore in no way harmful to the users' abilities to use the English language.

John Humphrys begins the article with complaints about the removal of hyphens from more than 16,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary. He referred it to laziness as he wrote: “Are our lives really so pressured, every minute occupied in so many vital tasks, every second accounted for, that we cannot afford the millisecond (no hyphen) it takes to tap the key?” (2007:1) John Humphrys essentially states that text messaging, is as a form of laziness and a threat to the English language; due to the frequent usage of abbreviations and emoticons within in text messages. However, what he failed to realize, is that the abbreviations and emoticons were originally made for a completely different purpose. Text messaging was not always as affordable as it is today. Many mobile services constrained the amount of characters allowed in a text message, such that some services permitted only 160 characters while others charged messages by the number of characters sent. Thus, the initial abbreviations of text messages such as tks (thanks), and btw (by the way), were created for economic purposes. Later, as text messages became more prominent, more abbreviations and emoticons were created. These were, again,...