Since the birth of text messaging and the 160 character limit that came with them, people have developed their own kind of “text lingo” to try and get the same ideas across with fewer characters. No longer did people use punctuation, words that had the sound of numbers within them were changed to include the number (l8r instead of later, wow, saved two characters!). Messages that used to read “Hi, I’m doing fine, how about you?” now read “im fine hbu.”
Many people, especially so-called “grammar nazis,” become quickly alarmed that with the next generation communicating this way, it will lead to the illiteracy of our culture.
Seems logical, but it is always best to test things out instead of relying on the “logic” of them. Coventry University in Britain recently conducted a study to show the rate of change in students grammar and vocabulary while heavily involved in texting.
The study found little or no correlation between participants grammar text scores, and their texting habits. In fact, many students who texted the most evidenced a strong enhancement in their grammar tests.
The moral of the story is, when you see someone send you a text message that reads “c u l8r,” don’t freak out. They know (hopefully) that is not the proper way to spell “see” and “you,” and surely they know there can’t be a number in a real word.