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Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Text messaging has spread like wildfire. Indeed texting is so widespread that many parents, teachers, and media pundits have been outspoken in their criticism of it. Does texting spell the end of western civilization?
In this humorous, level-headed and insightful book, David Crystal argues that the panic over texting is misplaced. Crystal, a world renowned linguist and pro
...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 1st 2008)
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Aurélien Thomas
In a digital age where no one seems to be able to live without a smart phone at hand, here's a relevant book addressing the passionate debate regarding how our languages' future might be (if at all) affected by texting.

The never ending complaint is well known: we give in to the need for speed, and so text each others messages those grammar is butchered, mercilessly massacred, throwing thus out of the window the rules and conventions that had been established over centuries. Is it just a matter o
...more
Tim P
Jan 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not written by a cranky old man, an exasperated teacher, nor a giggly 15 year old girl twittering about her love for Twilight characters. It is written by a linguistics professor, which is what makes it so fascinating. Weighing in on the debate about whether texting is destroying the English language or whether it is a natural evolution of the language, Crystal compiles a series of compelling essays that can be devoured in one sitting. Especially interesting: the cultural difference ...more
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am one of those people who never got into the whole texting craze, primarily because I hardly ever use my cell phone and I rarely chat with my friends online. Even when I do, I try to write in full sentences and be as clear in my prose as possible. However, I am not beyond ever condescending to the new texting abbreviations, and would occasionally pepper my chats with LOL, ROTFL, and of course ', nor would I begrudge my interlocutors when they do the same. So, I am not someone who gets too flu ...more
Joel Arnold
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book discusses texting from a linguistic standpont. Crystal identifies the linguistic mechanisms and dynamics at work in texting and places it in historical context. One chapter also gives a limited discussion of texting in other languages. If you like linguistics you will probably enjoy this book.

The primary focus of the book, however, is the common allegation that texting is destroying people's ability to write and communicate legibly. Crystal points out that (1) similar phenomena have exi
...more
Laura
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was interesting in an anecdotal way for the first 50 pages or so. But the author really didn't have anything profound to say, and the book (published in 2008) already seems dated.
Nina Chachu
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit academic in places, but a pretty readable "defence" of texting. Didn't talk much about the impact of texting on the developing world, but one can't have everything!
Moira
Sep 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, witty and easy read - and a convincing argument. I started out as someone who hated the way text speak was apparently massacring the language ... but he won me over.
Robert Day
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
2008 was such a long time ago in the history of texting. Almost all texts were done on a number pad. No wonder they abbreviated. No wonder they thought of so many weird and wonderful ways of minimising the number of characters they had to output. Texters were clever people back then. Now, they don't have to be. This was written on a phone, and yet it's as easy to type grammatically correct text here as it is on a full size keyboard. Point is, texting was different then and so this book is not so ...more
Amy
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: linguists, word lovers
Back in 1996 when internet chatrooms were fairly new, an asocial geek in my honors English class wrote a paper on the validity of an exciting new type of language that was cropping up in chatrooms where people were regularly using abbreviated phrases like LOL (laugh out loud), ROFL (rolling on floor laughing) , and TTFN (ta ta for now). Our antiquated teacher didn't seem to know enough about what the guy was talking about to pass any judgement on it one way or the other. Half the class didn't ev ...more
Hannah Beth
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful as research for an essay I was writing.
Sarah
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: odd-books
Written in 2008 so slightly out of date. But well written and interesting.
Susan
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for its date of writing (2006 or so) but dated now. Crystal's usual clear & witty prose. ...more
Daniel
Oct 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To tell you the truth, the only part of this book I found truly useful is an appendix listing a significant number of English text abbreviations. Potential readers should take note of the fact that author David Crystal is a professor of linguistics, and so the focus of the book is on the changes - be they positive or negative or both - that the exponential growth in text messaging may or may not be making to language. Don't let that "the gr8 db8" subtitle fool you - there's very little in the wa ...more
Lauren Fecht
Jun 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why does our language have to be so specific and rigid? Who’s to say that we can’t change it as we go and still make sense of it? Our technology age has done just that. “Text Talk” as it is most commonly referred is taking over the younger students’ vocabulary and expression around the world. Words and phrases are shortened to meet the character limits of text messaging as well as to speed up the process of texting. If you think about it, it’s pretty smart! It is basically a new code developed ...more
Grace
I'm not sure what the "the gr8 db8" is. Author David Crystal sets out to dispel media reports that texting promotes the butchering of the English language and is producing teens and young adults who cannot string a coherent sentence together without the use of "textisms." However, these media reports that created this cultural generalization that texters are illiterate vandals are nothing but sensationalized reporting based on a random rumor of a student using texting abbreviations in an essay f ...more
Richard
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Given that this book was first published in 2008, and has sat unread on my shelf since then, I expected that it would be outdated, and largely superseded by developments in technology. With the continued rise of social networking platforms that blur the distinction between text messages, online chat, and blogging, and with the move away from mobile phones with numeric keypads in favour of smartphones and tablets with touchscreens, the 160-character text message may not be around in its current f ...more
Deb
Feb 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*lol & lrn*

Although critics have panicked and seen "text-ese" as a sign that language (and the young users of it) are rapidly devolving, Crystal presents a convincing argument for how texting is actually "language in evolution." He explores how many of the often criticized features of texting--its pictograms, logograms, initialisms, abbreviations, and non-standard spellings--have been a part of linguistic development since the first word was written. He also shows how texting not only follows a
...more
Moira Clunie
central premise: txt language is not as unusual nor as widespread as you might think, and it's not about to destroy the english language, kthx. i knew this, but it was interesting to read some statistical backup and linguistic analysis. the most interesting parts of this book were about txt poetics (analysing the results of some txtmsg poetry competitions), and looking at abbreviations in other languages & among bilingual populations. this book also introduced me to vocab for the pairs of words ...more
Alex
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
As ever, Crystal is interesting and insightful to read, and this book is fairly accessible, even to those outside the field. The main issue with the book is that it is out of date - of course, this is no reflection on Crystal but a reflection on the speed of the development of the technology, which he refers to within the book many times. This book cannot accurately tell one about the current state of texting - he talks about phones with the 1-9 keypad, and does not discuss the effects of modern ...more
Sarah
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm a total geek when it comes to English Language and I'm slowly working my way through David Crystal's books. This was one that really interested me as text speak is something that really grates, but is also something I used a lot in my teens! This book really gives a great insight to the language used in text messages across the world and sums up how text speak is really just another form of abbreviation - something people have been using for years when it comes to other forms of writing and ...more
Julia
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The popular belief is that texting has evolved as a twenty-first-century phenomenon – as a highly distinctive graphic style, full of abbreviations and deviant uses of language, used by a young generation that doesn’t care about standards. There is a widely voiced concern that the practice is fostering a decline in literacy. And some even think it is harming language as a whole . . . Yet all the evidence suggests that belief in an impending linguistic disaster is a consequence of a mythology lar ...more
Casey
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Does feel a bit dated already. It was alright. Nothing overly bad about it, but nothing particularly impressive about it either. I have heard plenty of people say texting is destroying literacy and this book would seem to argue (somewhat successfully) that such is not the case. While I am not a teen and do not text with a lot of teens, I found I had never seen most of the abbreviated forms used in the examples in a text message. And by most I mean 85% and probably more ... which makes me wonder ...more
Dovie
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author of this book has an interesting, and positive, view on the texting phenomenon. Crystal explores who texts (not merely teens), but also examines the frequency of initialisms, shortenings,nonstandard spellings and other linguistic behavior commonly held to be created by text, behavior which actually has great historical depth. He also addresses, and dispels common myths about how texting is destroying the English language. The book also includes an interesting chapter on texting in othe ...more
Holmes
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the first to take an in-depth look at the linguistics of texting. It deals comprehensively with many different languages, and the examples it gives are quite enlightening, sometimes entertaining. I agree with Professor David Crystal's argument that there is nothing to fear from texting. It does not degrade or destroy people linguistic abilities. As long as people are producing language, it can only be good for linguistic development. Texting is a worry only for people who don't unde ...more
Mark Feltskog
An unexpected defense of texting from David Crystal, who has enjoyed with a long, fruitful and distinguished career in linguistics--his Shakespeare's Words (New York: Penguin, 2002) is a staple in my personal and classroom libraries . This is basically a scholarly paper arguing that texting is in fact a path toward greater literacy and not a collective slide into functional illiteracy. Mr. Crystal marshals impressive evidence to support his argument, and at least some of it struck me, as superfl ...more
tomlinton
The basic argument
is that texting is not ruining
your children's grammar
The errors you see
have always been present
in roughly the same proportion
I thought I was a little behind the times
and should read this to catch up
No need after all
and to tell the truth
I finished this extended essay
skimmingly
This is not to say
the occasional idiot
will not submit an application
for a job position
as one did to me
entirely in txt msgs
Just that it's not
the epidemic we seem to make of it
Toby
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
To those who are pedantic about grammar and adhering to strict rules, this book shifts your paradigm. It defends the notions that languages evolve, dictionaries are more descriptive than prescriptive, and style guides demonstrate that the written word has no single template.

New words, phrases, structures, etc. become acceptable within the social group in which it is used—any wonder why the Oxford American Dictionary accepted 'unfriend' as word of the year in 2009? I think 500 million Facebook u
...more
Sinead
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a feeling that I would be a bit bored with this book as soon as I got a few chapters in. As it was published in 2009 it is surprising how much has changed when it comes to texting and phones themselves so points that were made then no longer have a purpose now. However, there was some lively conversation on how text speak has become a new popular way of communicating and a humorous outlook at the moral panics over texting and its 'disastrous' impact on education. I like the way that David ...more
Dagezi
Apr 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was sort of on the 2.5 / 3 star border. A bite-sized reasonably entertaining read. The best part is probably the appendices with texting abbreviations in a dozen or so foreign languages. The book itself is fine. Reasonably argued (texting is not destroying English, is drawing on modes of linguistic improvisation and abbreviation with long historical pedigrees, etc., etc.) it might piss off the schoolmarmish but I found it to be lite and quick reading -- it took about 3.5-4 hours of a 14 hou ...more
Steven
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It's slightly dated (2008), but it's an interesting read from a linguistic perspective. I happen to agree that, as with Harry Potter so with texting - anything getting kids to read/write *more,* rather than less, is welcome! The best parts of the book are where he debunks some of the myths around texting, especially the idea that somehow these acronyms or abbreviations are new - some date back decades, some centuries, some millenia! :) "
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David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead. His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary's College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specialised in English language studies, did some rese ...more

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“I believe that any form of writing exercise is good for you. I also believe that any form of tuition which helps develop your awareness of the different properties, styles, and effects of writing is good for you. It helps you become a better reader, more sensitive to nuance, and a better writer, more sensitive to audience. Texting language is no different from other innovative forms of written expression that have emerged in the past. It is a type of language whose communicative strengths and weaknesses need to be appreciated.” 10 likes
“Here is a rewriting of the British national anthem, by 'Camille, Australia'. It is, she explains, chiefly for the benefit of Microsoft Word and Outlook Express users:

Gd CTRL-S r gr8sh Qun.
Long liv r nobl Qun.
Gd CTRL-S the. Qun!
ALT-S hr vktrES,
HpE & glrES,
Lng 2 rain ovR S
Gd CTRL-S th. Qun!”
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