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Text speak no threat to spelling, may help: academic

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Shopprice New zealand

Texting l8r, gr8 and u2 doesn’t mean kids won’t be able to spell any more, according to a UK study.

Don’t ban text speak and send the kids to learn the dictionary – academics say the word play may actually help with spelling.

Much as the older generations may flinch at the sight of cu l8r, the sound-based thinking needed to create the text shorthand could be helping – not hindering – youngsters put letters together.

University of Waikato linguistics senior lecturer Dr Andreea Calude sometimes gets emails from her university students with text-style abbreviations in them.

“I kindly point out to them that’s not appropriate for that kind of genre,” she said.

But she doesn’t think parents should be afraid of text slang or social media language wreaking havoc on kids’ spelling ability.

In fact, a series of studies by psychology professor Clare Wood, of Coventry University, showed it could improve children’s spelling ability, Calude said.

“It just reminded me that the best way to learn is through play. People forget that. So playing around with language is one of the best ways to actually get children – but anybody, adults as well – interested.”

The studies seemed to suggest the creativity and language play involved in “textisms” got kids more engaged, she said.

“Language is out there for everybody to play with and use.”

“If we regulate language too much and become too concerned with gatekeeping, we risk children – but anybody – being put off being interested.”

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