TEXT MESSAGE ABBREVIATION AFFECTING THE STANDARD OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The phenomenon of texting among adolescents is one that evolves rapidly. As such, there is limited empirical research on this subject. However, the debate over whether text message abbreviations influences formal writing skills and abilities is based on the fundamental question of whether text messages improve, interfere or have no relation to formal writing skills. The agreement or the disagreement emerges from different points of view (optimistic, pessimistic, pluralistic and techno-realistic) or frames of discourse and is often in several respects. These views, according to Weerakkody (2008), represent the main discourses of technology and govern perceptions of technology in society as they shape how technology is discussed in society.The optimistic view of text messaging, for example, focuses primarily on the gains that can be made in text messaging. This is due to the fact that all technological advances and devices are positive and bring about progress. On the other hand, the pessimistic view portrays its ideologies around the losses, costs and misdeeds of mobile telephony. A key argument for the pessimists of mobile technology (Beninger, 2013) is that of increasing the power and control of the powers that exist.
Foucault (2005) quoted in Weerakkody (2008) compares the pessimistic view of new technologies with a surveillance system whereby those at the center of activities control those in the periphery. This control leads to abuse, misuse and oppression, such as cyberbullying in today’s society. The pluralistic vision defies greatly and even opposes the pessimistic view. The frame of reference from this point of view is that of use, ie mobile telephony and text messaging in themselves are neutral.Positive, negative or neutral results depend on how they are used. For example, the same uranium used to power nuclear reactors to generate electricity can be used to produce the most deadly explosives. In this case, the uranium itself is neither good nor bad, but neutral. However, it depends on how it is used. According to Faulkner &Culwin, (2005), techno-realistic view takes the common ground and considers technological applications such as text messaging as a mixed blessing capable of positive and negative results (p.464).