Tagliamonte: Instant messaging linguistics study

Instant messaging is not a spoiler of syntax in youth, U of T study suggests (Victoria Ahearn, Canadian Press, August 1, 2006) is a news story that is circulating about a study that Sali Tagliamonte and a student conducted about instant messaging. The good news is that we needn’t worry about IM.

Here’s a word to the wise (AWTTW): Instant messaging (IM), which is often riddled with acronyms like LOL (laugh out loud) and TTYL (talk to you later), is not the spoiler of syntax that some think it is but rather “an expansive new linguistic renaissance,” suggests a new study from the University of Toronto.

Here is the conclusion of an abstract submitted to the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference in October of 2005:

These findings challenge the deleterious perceptions of IM and suggest that they have been over-blown in the media. Instead, IM is vibrant new medium of communication with its own unique style
(see also Herring 2003, 2004). We will elaborate an argument that IM is an illuminating reflection of
the dynamic ongoing, normal processes of linguistic change that are currently underway in the English
language. Moreover, we will suggest that it may well provide a ‘bellwether of future [socio linguistic]
trends’ (Schiano et al. 2002).

See OMG, its so PC! Instant Messaging and Teen Language.