Linguistic Economy can be defined as being economical with words/characters/phonemes. It basically means that you can convey meaning using fewer words – so why not do it?! Linguistic economy has become necessary in modern days due to our desire to be more concise and quick in our communications, particularly due to new communication technology. For example, why text a friend saying ‘Would you like to go to the cinema with myself and some other people tonight?’ when you could say ‘Cinema tonight?’ with the same desired response. The prestige of formal written style is falling due to the changing nature of ourselves as language users (in part down to new media technologies, we are now text producers as well as receivers), so being economical isn’t such a bad thing…is it? Read a selection of the articles below and collect your own thoughts on this matter:
Class Activity: textese
Take a classic text such as a famous speech, or a book you have read. Transform the speech or a passage from the book into text message language: ‘textese.’ If you have not done so already, you can find out about the ‘grammar’ of textese by visiting this informative webpage.
Write an article about Linguistic Economy. You could use the ‘yes/no’ format of the piece Does Texting Ruin Writing Skills? (see below) if you like, although you don’t have to. You could call your piece something like ‘Is Technology Dumbing Down English?’
Here’s a great piece of student writing for you to read and gather inspiration for your own writing.
Paper 1 Text Type Focus: Opinion Columns
At the end of your course you will be asked to analyze unseen texts (1 at Standard Level and 2 at Higher Level) in an examination. You will be given a guiding question that will focus your attention on formal or stylistic elements of the text(s), and help you decode the text(s)’ purpose(s). Below are a collection of Opinion Pieces based on the topic of Text Speak and other issues. Use these practice texts to familiarise yourself with the different features of Opinion Columns and add them to your Learner Portfolio; you will want to revise text types thoroughly before your Paper 1 exam. You can find more information – including text type features and sample Paper 1 analysis – by visiting 20/20. Read through one or two of the exemplars, then choose a new paper and have a go at writing your own Paper 1 analysis response:
Body of Work: Texting – The Gr8 Db8
The effects of texting had (at the time this book was published in 2008) been relatively well researched but none of that research had reached the general public. As there was a lack of understanding about this issue, largely exaggerated myth about the effect of text messaging on language replaced truth. The point of this book by David Crystal is to dispel misinformation and explore what happens when people text through a linguist’s expert eyes.
Towards Assessment: Individual Oral
“Supported by an extract from one non-literary text and one from a literary work, students will offer a prepared response of 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions by the teacher, to the following prompt: Examine the ways in which the global issue of your choice is presented through the content and form of two of the texts that you have studied. (40 marks)“
An extract from this work would make an ideal text to bring into your Individual Oral. The named author would be ‘David Crystal.’ You could explore the Global Issues of: Science, Technology and the Environment or Art, Creativity and Imagination. You may have ideas about how to pair the articles with the literary texts you are studying. If not, don’t worry; speak to your teacher or use the following suggestions as a starting point:
- J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun – TBC .
- Shaw’s Pygmalion – you could compare attitudes towards varieties of English as expressed by Higgins in Act 1, or look at his teaching methods in Act 2.
- Keats’ Odes – you can express the opinion that the meta-textual language employed and defended by David Crystal is a creative language as rich and valid as the poetic language Keats used to explore the concerns of his day.
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