The funny thing is that this has happened before. In mathematics much of the notation was basically to remove english words from the flow of a proof or solution. Phrases such as "therefore", "there exists", "there exists a unique", "is a subset of", "such that", "is an element of", "thus the theorem is proved", "by contradiction" etc, all have been given single character symbols in mathematics. Of course it took longer to develop than the IM shorthand. Fortunately I never tried to use any of those symbols in my writing assignments. Norman Stahl wrote: > > > >This article from NYTimes.com > >has been sent to you by [log in to unmask] > > > > > > > >Nu Shortcuts in School R 2 Much 4 Teachers > > > >September 19, 2002 > >By JENNIFER 8. LEE > > > > > > > > > > > > > >EACH September Jacqueline Harding prepares a classroom > >presentation on the common writing mistakes she sees in her > >students' work. > > > >Ms. Harding, an eighth-grade English teacher at Viking > >Middle School in Guernee, Ill., scribbles the words that > >have plagued generations of schoolchildren across her > >whiteboard: > > > >There. Their. They're. > > > >Your. You're. > > > >To. Too. Two. > > > >Its. It's. > > > >This September, she has added > >a new list: u, r, ur, b4, wuz, cuz, 2. > > > >When she asked her students how many of them used shortcuts > >like these in their writing, Ms. Harding said, she was not > >surprised when most of them raised their hands. This, after > >all, is their online lingua franca: English adapted for the > >spitfire conversational style of Internet instant > >messaging. > > > >Ms. Harding, who has seen such shortcuts creep into student > >papers over the last two years, said she gave her students > >a warning: "If I see this in your assignments, I will take > >points off." > > > >"Kids should know the difference," said Ms. Harding, who > >decided to address this issue head-on this year. "They > >should know where to draw the line between formal writing > >and conversational writing." > > > >As more and more teenagers socialize online, middle school > >and high school teachers like Ms. Harding are increasingly > >seeing a breezy form of Internet English jump from e-mail > >into schoolwork. To their dismay, teachers say that papers > >are being written with shortened words, improper > >capitalization and punctuation, and characters like &, $ > >and @. > > > >Teachers have deducted points, drawn red circles and > >tsk-tsked at their classes. Yet the errant forms continue. > >"It stops being funny after you repeat yourself a couple of > >times," Ms. Harding said. > > > >But teenagers, whose social life can rely as much these > >days on text communication as the spoken word, say that > >they use instant-messaging shorthand without thinking about > >it. They write to one another as much as they write in > >school, or more. > > > >"You are so used to abbreviating things, you just start > >doing it unconsciously on schoolwork and reports and other > >things," said Eve Brecker, 15, a student at Montclair High > >School in New Jersey. > > > >Ms. Brecker once handed in a midterm exam riddled with > >instant-messaging shorthand. "I had an hour to write an > >essay on Romeo and Juliet," she said. "I just wanted to > >finish before my time was up. I was writing fast and > >carelessly. I spelled `you' `u.' " She got a C. > > > >Even terms that cannot be expressed verbally are making > >their way into papers. Melanie Weaver was stunned by some > >of the term papers she received from a 10th-grade class she > >recently taught as part of an internship. "They would be > >trying to make a point in a paper, they would put a smiley > >face in the end," said Ms. Weaver, who teaches at Alvernia > >College in Reading, Pa. "If they were presenting an > >argument and they needed to present an opposite view, they > >would put a frown." > > > >As Trisha Fogarty, a sixth-grade teacher at Houlton > >Southside School in Houlton, Maine, puts it, today's > >students are "Generation Text." > > > >Almost 60 percent of the online population under age 17 > >uses instant messaging, according to Nielsen / NetRatings. > >In addition to cellphone text messaging, Weblogs and > >e-mail, it has become a popular means of flirting, setting > >up dates, asking for help with homework and keeping in > >contact with distant friends. The abbreviations are a > >natural outgrowth of this rapid-fire style of > >communication. > > > >"They have a social life that centers around typed > >communication," said Judith S. Donath, a professor at the > >Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab who has > >studied electronic communication. "They have a writing > >style that has been nurtured in a teenage social milieu." > > > >Some teachers see the creeping abbreviations as part of a > >continuing assault of technology on formal written English. > >Others take it more lightly, saying that it is just part of > >the larger arc of language evolution. > > > >"To them it's not wrong," said Ms. Harding, who is 28. > >"It's acceptable because it's in their culture. It's hard > >enough to teach them the art of formal writing. Now we've > >got to overcome this new instant-messaging language." > > > >Ms. Harding noted that in some cases the shorthand isn't > >even shorter. "I understand `cuz,' but what's with the > >`wuz'? It's the same amount of letters as `was,' so what's > >the point?" she said. > > > >Deborah Bova, who teaches eighth-grade English at Raymond > >Park Middle School in Indianapolis, thought her eyesight > >was failing several years ago when she saw the sentence "B4 > >we perform, ppl have 2 practice" on a student assignment. > > > >"I thought, `My God, what is this?' " Ms. Bova said. "Have > >they lost their minds?" > > > >The student was summoned to the board to translate the > >sentence into standard English: "Before we perform, people > >have to practice." She realized that the students thought > >she was out of touch. "It was like `Get with it, Bova,' " > >she said. > > > >Ms. Bova had a student type up a reference list of > >translations for common instant-messaging expressions. She > >posted a copy on the bulletin board by her desk and took > >another one home to use while grading. > > > >Students are sometimes unrepentant. > > > >"They were astonished > >when I began to point these things out to them," said Henry > >Assetto, a social studies teacher at Twin Valley High > >School in Elverson, Pa. "Because I am a history teacher, > >they did not think a history teacher would be checking up > >on their grammar or their spelling," said Mr. Assetto, who > >has been teaching for 34 years. > > > >But Montana Hodgen, 16, another Montclair student, said she > >was so accustomed to instant-messaging abbreviations that > >she often read right past them. She proofread a paper last > >year only to get it returned with the messaging > >abbreviations circled in red. > > > >"I was so used to reading what my friends wrote to me on > >Instant Messenger that I didn't even realize that there was > >something wrong," she said. She said her ability to > >separate formal and informal English declined the more she > >used instant messages. "Three years ago, if I had seen > >that, I would have been `What is that?' " > > > >The spelling checker doesn't always help either, students > >say. For one, Microsoft Word's squiggly red spell-check > >lines don't appear beneath single letters and numbers such > >as u, r, c, 2 and 4. Nor do they catch words which have > >numbers in them such as "l8r" and "b4" by default. > > > >Teenagers have essentially developed an unconscious > >"accent" in their typing, Professor Donath said. "They have > >gotten facile at typing and they are not paying attention." > > > > > >Teenagers have long pushed the boundaries of spoken > >language, introducing words that then become passČ with > >adult adoption. Now teenagers are taking charge and pushing > >the boundaries of written language. For them, expressions > >like "oic" (oh I see), "nm" (not much), "jk" (just kidding) > >and "lol" (laughing out loud), "brb" (be right back), > >"ttyl" (talk to you later) are as standard as conventional > >English. > > > >"There is no official English language," said Jesse > >Sheidlower, the North American editor of the Oxford English > >Dictionary. "Language is spread not because not anyone > >dictates any one thing to happen. The decisions are made by > >the language and the people who use the language." > > > >Some teachers find the new writing style alarming. "First > >of all, it's very rude, and it's very careless," said Lois > >Moran, a middle school English teacher at St. Nicholas > >School in Jersey City. > > > >"They should be careful to write properly and not to put > >these little codes in that they are in such a habit of > >writing to each other," said Ms. Moran, who has lectured > >her eighth-grade class on such mistakes. > > > >Others say that the instant-messaging style might simply be > >a fad, something that students will grow out of. Or they > >see it as an opportunity to teach students about the > >evolution of language. > > > >"I turn it into a very positive teachable moment for kids > >in the class," said Erika V. Karres, an assistant professor > >at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who > >trains student teachers. She shows students how English has > >evolved since Shakespeare's time. "Imagine Langston > >Hughes's writing in quick texting instead of `Langston > >writing,' " she said. "It makes teaching and learning so > >exciting." > > > >Other teachers encourage students to use messaging > >shorthand to spark their thinking processes. "When my > >children are writing first drafts, I don't care how they > >spell anything, as long as they are writing," said Ms. > >Fogarty, the sixth-grade teacher from Houlton, Maine. "If > >this lingo gets their thoughts and ideas onto paper > >quicker, the more power to them." But during editing and > >revising, she expects her students to switch to standard > >English. > > > >Ms. Bova shares the view that instant-messaging language > >can help free up their creativity. With the help of > >students, she does not even need the cheat sheet to read > >the shorthand anymore. > > > >"I think it's a plus," she said. "And I would say that with > >a + sign." > > > >http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/19/technology/circuits/19MESS.html?ex=1033473538 > >&ei=1&en=f7f8b3892094b688 > > > > > > > >HOW TO ADVERTISE > >--------------------------------- > >For information on advertising in e-mail newsletters > >or other creative advertising opportunities with The > >New York Times on the Web, please contact > >[log in to unmask] or visit our online media > >kit at http://www.nytimes.com/adinfo > > > >For general information about NYTimes.com, write to > >[log in to unmask] > > > >Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company > > > > Norman A. Stahl > Professor and Chair > Literacy Education > GH 223 > Northern Illinois University > DeKalb, IL 60115 > > Phone: (815) 753-9032 > FAX: (815) 753-8563 > [log in to unmask] > > ****************************************************** > Universities are institutions run by amateurs to train professionals. > Derek Bok----Harvard University > ****************************************************** > In examinations, the man who succeeds is not the man who can write well > about something that he knows, but the man who can write brilliantly about > something of which he knows nothing. D.B. Jackson----the Royal Air Force > ****************************************************** > > To Unsubscribe, > send a message to [log in to unmask] > In body type: SIGNOFF LRNASST. To Unsubscribe, send a message to [log in to unmask] In body type: SIGNOFF LRNASST.