Here's some research that should make Olds feel vindicated: texting a lot apparently makes people less accepting of words they've never heard before. Which is weird because texting is basically a process of sending things that aren't words to people.
According to ScienceDaily, grad student Joan Lee of the University of Calgary surveyed undergrads about how often they texted, and how often they read print media (which, for reference, is when markings are made on tree pulp and then distributed non-electronically). Then she gave them a list of words, some real and some fake. Result: the frequent texters rejected more of the words than the nerdy readers did. Writes Lee,
Our assumption about text messaging is that it encourages unconstrained language. But the study found this to be a myth. The people who accepted more words did so because they were better able to interpret the meaning of the word, or tolerate the word, even if they didn't recognize the word. Students who reported texting more rejected more words instead of acknowledging them as possible words.
This might be because even though people text a lot of misspellings and acronyms, they're not actually texting a lot of words like "cerement." So people who text a lot and don't read much aren't necessarily being exposed to a lot of new words — just a lot of variants on old ones. Or, as Lee puts it,
Textisms represent real words which are commonly known among people who text. Many of the words presented in the study are not commonly known and were not acceptable to the participants in the study who texted more or read less traditional print media.
So basically, texting is turning today's youth into the kind of anti-intellectual jerks who yell at you to stop using "big words" when you call something a "dilemma." Awesome.
Texting Affects Ability to Interpret Words [ScienceDaily]
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