John Humphrys Analysis

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John Humphrys begins the article complaining about the removal of hyphens from more than 16,000 words in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). He referred it as laziness as he wrote: “Are our lives really so pressured, every minute occupied in so many vital tasks, every second accounted for, that we cannot afford the millisecond (no hyphen) it takes to tap the key?” (2007:1) Mr. Humphrys also states that text messaging, is as a form of laziness and a threat to the English language; due to the frequent usage of abbreviations and emoticons within in text messages. However, what Mr. Humphrys failed to realize, is that the abbreviations and emoticons were actually were made for a whole different other purpose. Text messaging weren’t always as affordable…show more content…
However, most people agree that text speak is a language, even John Humphrys wrote, “Texting and netspeak are effectively different languages.” (2007:2) Moreover, a recent study on text messaging in Hong Kong revealed that there is a causal relationship between the introduction of new information communication tools (ICTs) and new forms of language and literacy (Li et al. 2007:1). If text speak is considered a language, and it 's supposedly destroying the English language here in the Western countries, does that mean all multilingual individuals will soon have no English speaking and writing skills? I personally believe that it comes down to style shifting – the variability of speech and language in different social context. For example, I mainly speak Mandarin Chinese at home, but English at school or work. Similarly, people choose to use text speak when text messaging or chatting online, and use formal English when writing a paper. Human beings are experts in adaptation, there are multi-linguistics that have mastered several languages, and are able to communicate and write formally in all of them. The fact that John Humphrys argues knowing a second language will inhibit a person 's ability to speak his or her first language, is a pitiful assumption. In fact, a recent research showed…show more content…
Languages like text speak is a reflection of social differences and relations of power and domination. The fact that Mr. Humphrys claimed superiority of the formal English language, and condemned text speech as a threat and sin, is viewable by sociolinguists as a form of stratification in the making. John Humphrys is a journalist who practices the use of formal English language on a daily basis. Therefore, it is not surprising that he would rank formal English as better due to his associations. Also, Mr. Humphrys specifically targeted younger generations as threats due to the popularity of text messaging in younger generations. John Humphrys wrote in his article, “The danger – for young people especially – is that they will come to dominate.” He seems to be worried for the younger generation at first, fearing that text messaging will destroy their formal English skills. However, younger people are only a fraction of the whole that uses text speak regularly. Mr. Humphrys ' claims backfire on his “good intention”, and can be viewed by many sociolinguists as stigmatization. If the majority of text speak users were PhD graduates and professors in linguistics, would Mr. Humphrys still have written this article? I believe that Mr. Humphrys ' confidence in his belief results from the view that younger populations are of lower-status. Thus, the popular practice of text

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