Mostly Everything

T9 Advocacy: “We’ve lost one generation to TXT Speak”



I was able to interview T9’s Marketing guy, James Young last week. For those unfamiliar, T9 is the company behind the “predictive text” software we see in most Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Windows Mobile and Motorola phones:

A campaign is being launched in the South East Asia region to address the alarming rate of elementary school kids who have succumbed to the pangs of “text speak.” Abbreviated words like “tnx”, “go der” or “w8″ have been appearing in elementary school essays and the worst thing about it is that a good number of these children don’t see anything wrong with it.

The campaign is currently ongoing, albeit silently. Wizard of Ads, the events company behind T9 development company Tegic, is helping create noise about the growing concern of “txt speak” to the younger generation. I’m only familiar with De La Salle University in Taft as one of the schools that supports this campaign.

As a parent, sibling and blogger, how much concern do you think this merits? Rico narrates the following experience:

My sister’s friend, who used to teach in High School, said that her students were using text speak in essays. And this was more than four years ago!

This should be a true concern, because I believe that properly spelling out words facilitates meaningful written communication. The problem with text speak is that it encourages lazy writing, in the sense that someone uses it to convey a message with as little effort as possible.

That’s understandable in today’s fast-paced world, but can we expect people who can’t even bother with proper spelling to express themselves properly through writing? What a waste if this was the case!

Are we unconsciously raising a generation that cannot spell right, because of a mobile phone?

[Download the advocacy brief]

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

12 replies on “T9 Advocacy: “We’ve lost one generation to TXT Speak””

Education should not end in the classroom. Parents should be very conscious about these things as well. I am. I scold Miguel when he uses text speak when writing, but this rarely happens since when I ask him to SMS for me I make him spell out the words. It is also a great help that he loves ready.

At least for my boys who blog, they do not use text speak when they write. This is the beauty in blogging, one is careful when writing using correct spelling, and the basics, like subject-verb agreement and tenses.

Based on my observation (when I clear their school materials after every school year, their essays (Ateneo and Miriam) are in the correct form, not text speak.

let me make a quick survey. good if text speak is limited only to texting, but what happens if teachers become lax (i mean lazy), such that they allow text speak in the written form?

Today’s cellphones can send and receive longer text messages. most people are scared of more-expensive text message fees. But personally, i can compose a text message with everything i need in less than 160 characters.

I adore T9!!! I’ve been using it ever since I started using mobile phones. In fact, I judge and choose a phone by its T9 implementation. Apparently, brands differ: for example, on some phones, punctuation isn’t handled intuitively, which on Nokia it is.

I’m very glad that there is such an advocacy to promote the use of predictive text input on mobile phones. It’s alarming, this text-speaking generation’s downward spiralling proficiency in English (and Pilipino, for that matter). While SMS might not be the sole culprit, I fear that it is contributing to the overall effect.

It’s commendable that you wrote about this, Jayvee!

O nga pala ‘no? For all the hype about the Philippines being the SMS capital of the world, I have never seen a Tagalog T9 dictionary… There’s Bahasa, for cryin’ out loud!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.