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2 Mar, 2015

Texting Jargon is harming Persian language, writing skills

Tehran, March 2, IRNA — Experts fear that the jargon of text messages has spawned a new online language and culture which is undermining the Persian language and writing skills.

A special program on the subject of ‘SMS and Persian language’ was held at Tehran’s National Library’s Andhishegah (literally, thinking room) hall on Sunday (March 1) to discuss the issue.

Two decades have passed since the birth of the texting technology. Over the years, teenagers and youth have created their own specific language including cryptic codes for writing text messages; therefore language experts worry that such scripts may lead to degradation of the Persian language and writing skills, Mehr News Agency reported.

To investigate and redress the issue, the program was organized by Ensha monthly magazine with the support of the secretariat of the Public Culture Council. Dr. Hassan Zolfaghari, professor at Tarbiat Modares University, and head of the educational group of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, was the scientific secretary of the meeting.

Mohammadreza Sangari, university professor, Mahmoud Ekramifar, deputy editor at Jamejam newspaper, Ali Asghar Arji, faculty member of Imam Khomeini International University and several other experts took part in the meeting.

The meeting was open to the public.

The invention of mobile phone messaging is considered to be the source for the SMS language. However, as a result, text message slang has become a part of many children’s language. By constantly using this ungrammatical form of texting so frequently, it has become a part of their “normal language”.

With the popularity and rise in text-based communications, such as Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, email, Internet and online gaming services, chat rooms, discussion boards and mobile phone text messaging (SMS), came the emergence of a new text language “tailored to the immediacy and compactness of the new communication media.”

While it does seem incredible that there are thousands of text abbreviations, different chat abbreviations are used by different groups of people online. For example, gamers are likely to use chat abbreviations that are different than those used by someone running a financial blog updating their Twitter status.

The explosion of social media has completely changed the way of human communication. Whether via laptop computers, advanced mobile devices, Wi-Fi or enhanced 4G wireless networks, people are more connected than ever before.

While the communications boom has been praised for its educational benefits, many argue that a negative side effect is beginning to take hold in the classrooms. Cyber slang is suspected of damaging students’ writing acumen.

Cyber slang is a term used to describe shortcuts, alternative words, or even symbols used to convey thoughts in an electronic document. Because so many digital media limit the number of characters an author can use at a time, students are becoming more creative to get the most out of their limited space.

A recent report from Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Writing, Technology and Teens,” found that the cell phone text-based abbreviated communications teens use are showing up in more formal writing, Financial Tribune reported.

One only has to spend about two minutes browsing the public pages of a social media platform like Facebook to find examples of cyber slang. In some cases, a second and third read is required before a sentence begins to make sense.