Reuters reports that text-message abbreviations and simplifications are not ruining our spelling, but they do take much longer to read and understand than conventional English, a small Australian study has shown. University of Tasmania lecturer Nenagh Kemp asked 55 undergraduate students to compose, and then read aloud, text messages in English and in "textese." While students were significantly faster in crafting messages using textese, it took nearly half the number of students twice as long to read these messages aloud than messages written in proper English. The students also made more errors reading the textese messages compared to the ones written in English. "As skilled adult readers, we’re used to reading full words and sentences, so it is harder for us to decipher," said Kemp, a psychology lecturer who specializes in language use. She said her research showed that despite the popular belief that textese is ruining spelling, it actually does not reflect literary skills, at least in adults. "It’s fine to use textese on a mobile phone, as it saves you time, but you have to make sure your reader understands it," she added. "And don’t let it creep into your eMails, student essays, or job applications. Keep the boundaries."
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