The use of shortcut words is a common practice in social media and texting among young people. It is a practice that they identify with especially for informal communication through media such as Facebook, twitter and other common social networking sites. Shortcut words are appropriate for short messaging or texting using a mobile phone device since it is very tedious and tiring to type every word in full. Furthermore, in most cases people use the thumb to punch the keys in order to write a text; this is despite the development of QWERTY keyboards in the latest mobile phones. However this sort of language has negative effects towards formal and acceptable written language. Young people get used to shortcut words in their informal written conversations that they eventually use them whenever they are not required to.
One of the very common instances that falls victim to the negative effects of shortcut words is school assignments. Students replace single letters or numbers for a word. For example the word ‘for’ is replaced with ‘4’ and ‘you’ is replaced with ‘u’. For such a language to be used in a formal writing in school, implies that the students are gradually getting ignorant of proper punctuation and use of grammar. This basically means that proper grammar is slowly being wrecked as more and more young people and children are being exposed to texting language.
Teachers and lectures do complain that students use texting language in their writing. English teachers are not only the ones encountering these habits whenever they are reviewing their students’ scripts, but also teachers from other disciplines. The reason why students use texting language in school work can only be attributed to laziness. English is a compulsory subject in virtually every school. Even though students may major in certain subjects, they are required to take English. This therefore explains why use of shortcut words in school work is a form of intentional laziness.
Some of the students are aware of what they do whenever they use shortcut words in school work; however they expect to get away with it especially when used in other subjects apart from English. Some of them may not be aware of the requirements of formal writing. This therefore means that teachers and lecturers have to be strict on this issue irrespective of the subject they teach. Whenever a student uses shortcut words whether out of ignorance or laziness, they have to realize that it is not acceptable. It is the responsibility of the teacher to make them realize this.
Some of the shortcut words do have some ambiguity in their meaning. They can therefore be used in more than one context. In case students use them in school work, the teacher may not be aware of the context in which they are used and therefore fail to understand their implication. Some of the teachers are quite old and unfamiliar with the texting language that is common among students today. Also, writing using texting language takes a short time however is someone is unfamiliar with it especially most old teachers and parents, they may have a hard time reading them and figuring out their meaning according to the context used.
Shortcut words are therefore good when used for informal communication among people familiar with them. However, young people and children have to learn to distinguish when it is appropriate to use them and when it is not. This is for the sake of observing proper use of grammar and punctuation.