Paragraph One: David Crystal summarizes John Humphry’s essay “I h8 txt msgs.” Crystal doesn’t summarize everything Humphrey says. He merely establishes the main point, that text messaging is destroying English.
Paragraph Two: DC also summarizes John Sutherland’s paper from 2002 which asserts that texting is an ugly, illiterate version of English.
Paragraph Three: DC places Humphry, Sutherland, and others who criticize texting shorthand into a longer history of critics who have opposed new media for using language, such as telegraph, telephone, radio, and television.
Paragraph Four: Initiates a history of SMS, the technology is older (mid-1980s) than the popularity (which had not yet taken off by 2000).
Paragraph Five: DC explains that once phone companies figured out ways of charging for messages, the use skyrocketed. This paragraph seems to function as a way of showing us how widespread use is, that the subject is an important, relevant linguistic phenomenon.
Paragraph Six: DC points out that texting is an important but not overwhelming linguistic phenomenon. He gives two reasons for suggesting that the phenomenon is not overwhelming. 1) The kind of shorthand it uses is not entirely new. 2) Even a trillion text messages is not overwhelming the many more trillions of language messages people exchange daily. It is only a small fraction of the ways people use English.
Paragraph Seven: Rule breaking is limited by the need to communicate. There is no sense (so to speak) in breaking so many rules that one’s meaning becomes unclear. Many text messages (sent by older texters, longer messages, official messages) tend to be completely or mainly in standard English.
Paragraph Eight: Continues the idea in PP 7, by shows statistically how little abbreviation occurs in SMS’s. Less than 20%