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The more they write, the worse they write? This is the “wasp effect” in teenage language | technology



in waspnumber printing press what or what I know Writer So. It’s a world without accents, commas or breakpoints, where vowels are removed to make abbreviations and words and phrases replaced with emojis, attachments s cartoon. The important thing is not to see it. It may seem an insult to Spanish, but Alberto Marin, 17, finds it strange that he writes so correctly on social networks. And with it 90% of young people who deliberately admit to changing their writing on the Internet.

The impact of mobile phone messaging on language has been the focus of experts since the birth of the SMS service. Various studies show that the language of WhatsApp and other social networks does not worsen the ability to write in life Offline online, quite the contrary, but in the classroom it is noticeable that something has changed. And not for the better.

Elisa Garcia, who has been a high school and high school teacher and a professionally trained language and literature teacher for 34 years, has noticed a “deterioration” in the way students express themselves in the past decade. After his retirement in 2021, the teacher felt that they wrote “texts like telegrams,” lacking the ability to connect ideas and build arguments with a common thread: “They try to save on structures and write disconnected sentences, with a lack of conductors.” Although a part of the students knows how to distinguish between the language of the Internet and the language of exams, the average usually doubts the spelling, lexical and grammatical rules when the pen is in his hand. They make more mistakes when they have to write a long text, as noted in selectivity tests. “University professors complain a lot because they have students who don’t know how to write properly,” Garcia says.

Part of the students know how to distinguish between “the language of the Internet” and “the language of tests”

Marta Gutierrez, also a language and literature teacher, agrees that high school students express themselves with less vocabulary and have difficulties translating ideas into words, as well as spelling falters. Gutierrez, a teacher since 2007, has noticed a more pronounced change in the past two or three years, suggesting that the pandemic may be another factor. “The fact that they were confined and without face-to-face lessons for a few months affected them so much. It is as if they have lost years of schooling,” he says. And the use of computers and mobile phones to study during confinement times kept them away from pen and paper. The teacher has since noted that many have difficulties with calligraphy and even the way they hold the pen: “their heads move faster than their hands.”

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The decline in language skills due to extensive use of social networks has been confirmed in some studies. In 2018, Professor of Language and Literature Education at the University of Malaga, Raúl Cremades, conducted a survey with 652 public school teachers and future teachers on how they perceive the impact of instant messaging on their students’ writing. The results showed a negative effect on the development of communicative competence, at least in the opinion of teachers.

Four years later, Cremades was categorical in stating that social networks impoverish language performance. “It is more written than ever, read more than ever, but the type of writing and reading on the Internet does not contribute to their formation,” says the professor. The cause is the so-called “contagion effect”: when the use of slang is so frequent that it is confused with formal language. Social networks have brought up the fact that everyone uses fast and fragmented connections in a context where it is common to see changing standards.

In addition to misspellings, the fast pace of the digital world means that people are increasingly in a hurry when it comes to reading and writing. Anna Pano Alamán, professor of Spanish at the University of Bologna (Italy), stresses that spelling confusion is not a particular problem for teenagers, nor is it the most serious: “We can all confuse the b, vo la hache.” What’s worrying about using digital writing, according to a social networking and language education specialist, is that it leads to texts that are very short, instant, and conversational, and few words are used to say a lot. “There is a difficulty in writing long articles using tags like but also on the other hand. These elements are disappearing,” Alman asserts.

“It is difficult to write long articles, but there are 13-year-olds who are able to create a very creative meme in five seconds. It enriches communication”

Anna Bano Alamán, Professor of Spanish at the Italian University of Bologna

Errors and inconsistencies mainly affect generation Z teens and the alpha receiver, because they are the people who spend the most time with a mobile phone and who have the least experience with formal types of writing. On the other hand, Alamán asserts that these generations have developed communication skills through social networks that older people do not usually possess. “There are 13-year-olds who are able to create a very creative meme in five seconds. They manipulate the image and text to craft a new message. The meme is really a literary genre,” says the expert. “This enriches the communication.”

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Regarding spelling errors, lack of connections, and the difficulty of creating texts with a beginning, middle, and end, both experts argue that this evil can be resolved through the habits of reading formal texts and with training that reflects on the different genres. “The recipe is to train students in the classroom for formal and informal registration,” says the professor at the University of Bologna. According to Cremades, another key is that faculty members are willing to adapt their methods and not give up in the face of new demands and difficulties for students. Allman concludes that “When a person is well educated, he can always go back to the normative roots because he knows them.”

Diego Sanz, 18, admits that “auto mode” leads him to make mistakes. “Not much on paper, but if you’re on a computer, you can put a q instead. In the end, if you want to write something fast, you have to shorten it and that’s it.” To improve his skills, this audiovisual student believes he should “take a paper and pen” and “write seriously, without abbreviations” at least some days of the week. Until he does, he continues on social media to use language closer to his friends, where “what Important he is what or what It must be understood.”

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