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How Social Media Slangs Affect Writing Skills of Students?


Slangs are any words or phrases that are used in informal settings and are common in speech than in writing among a certain group of people. Slangs used on social media and in messaging now have their own identity as a subdivision of our language.

Social media platforms generally limit the number of characters we can use to convey our thoughts. This compels us to devise shorter, creative and innovative ways to express ourselves. This is where we start using acronyms such as OMG, IDK, LOL, FYI and abbreviations such as b4 for before, btw for between, gr8 for great, U for you, 2 for too, etc.

Teenagers have increasingly started using slangs in their speech and writing courtesy their fascination for mobile phones and easy accessibility to internet. Teachers and instructors across India are witness to the sight of slangs in classroom assignments and examination answer sheets. They are now lamenting the dramatic decline in the writing abilities of students due to facebooking, texting and instagramming.

Students no more capitalize first letters or use punctuation marks as and when required. During a survey conducted in USA, 64% of students admitted to using slangs in their school work inadvertently. Teachers are also worried about the rising yet disturbing trend of students writing essays the way they speak, that is, the use of incomplete, grammatically incorrect and cut-off sentences is now frequent.

It has also been observed that any word longer than one syllable is abbreviated to one. What’s more troubling is that in most cases, students are not even aware that they are using language shortcuts in classroom work.

Another phenomenon that is translating from social media into classroom is the wrong use of spellings. Since we are not conscious about the spellings we type on social media platforms, thanks to the autocorrect function, students too fail to memorise and retain the correct spellings of even the most common words used in daily communication.

So even while the rise in the use of texting skills continue to impair formal writing skills, educators and academicians are yet to build a consensus on how to fix the growing problem. The future is unclear as more generations of students grow up with technology that embraces slang, but it is important for teachers to point out the common difference between professional writing and common slang to students. They can also leverage the information and toolboxes available on internet to provide lessons on formal writing.

Students must make a choice- a choice whether to use slang and social language to appear cool and to fit in or to learn proper English to succeed down the road. The time is now!

By: Deeksha Shivhare
Sr. Executive DigiCom - Content
Redefine Marcom Pvt. Ltd.