Tech Talk Found in English Papers

By Ben Wolf
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Texting on the cell phone or chatting on instant messenger or Myspace, a few places kids are using what is known as "IM-speak."

"lol for laugh out loud," says one Lowndes middle schooler.

"w/e for whatever," added another.

"Instead of using at, they use an 'a' with a little circle around it," said a third.

But this trendy tech talk is starting to reach beyond

"Sometimes in the rough draft they might be using the letter u instead of you, or "r" instead of are," said Lowndes middle school English teacher Teresa Aviles.

Aviles says the abbreviations have even entered her students' conversations with each other.

"Sometimes they use the letters and the numbers instead of using complete words and sentences."

These middle schoolers seem to be all about convenience.

"It's an easy way to communicate you know, instead of picking up the phone and calling somebody," said seventh grader Barker Armstrong.

While proper grammar is becoming a thing of the past, Aviles can draw some positives from IM-speak.

"When they take notes we encourage them to find symbols and shortened words to take their notes and that works very well," said Aviles.

If you haven't caught on already, you might need to because IM-speak seems to be here to stay.

While many English teachers are concerned, some feel certain assignments should be completed in IM speak because it is a good tool for communicating in a high-tech world.