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Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

4.1 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199544905
ISBN-10: 0199544905
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Editorial Reviews

Review

He combines an extraordinary knowledge of linguistics with a gift for popularizing. TLS. A highly consumable work of pop linguistics. Los Angeles Times Excellent. Crystal presents a compelling argument in favour of texting as a force for linguistic ability. Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

About the Author


David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written or edited over 100 books and published numerous articles for scholarly, professional, and general readerships, in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. His many books include Words, Words, Words (OUP 2006) and The Fight for English (OUP 2006).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199544905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199544905
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,022,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written or edited over 100 books and published numerous articles for scholarly, professional, and general readerships, in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. His many books include Words, Words, Words (OUP 2006) and The Fight for English (OUP 2006).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Personally, I think texting is great: it keeps my minutes low, and allows me to give a premeditated response to incoming messages -- with more convenience than email offers. This book actually prompted a lively discussion in my class the other day, when I asked my students if they thought that texting was adversely affecting their literary or writing skills. While the vast majority said No, at least one of them pointed out the difficulties in changing communication registers (i.e. from text-speak to academic essay-writing).

The book itself wasn't what I thought it would be, though. Crystal's observations are provocative, but it really does advocate a texting-is-perfectly-fine argument. (The back cover blurb says "You decide.")

However, there is one thing that Crystal makes absolutely clear: texting is not much different from other forms of technology that have been introduced, and which came under critical fire. The telegraph and telephone are two prominent examples. I can think of another one: medieval manuscript abbreviations, where words were habitually shortened in order to save space on expensive parchment. Rather than dampening our literary spirits, these things seem to have promoted reading and writing.
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Format: Paperback
David Crystal has once again put together one heck of a page-turner. His new book Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 touches upon nearly everything that has to do with texting. Some believe texting to be a threat to the English language. Here, Crystal pours oil on troubled waters as he argues that texting could even be advantageous for youths. He reasons that teenagers first have to understand language before they can start playing with it. He dwells on the peculiarities and the distinctiveness of texting, some reasons why people do it, and some thoughts on social groups. Moreover, he focuses on the content of text messages, and he also gives a brief overview on how texting works in other languages than English. While doing so, Crystal remains scientific as he draws his conclusions based on sheer facts, but he does go into too much linguistic detail.
In sum, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 is an absolute must read for anyone who is interested in how the new media affects language.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As part of the Amazon Vine review program, I requested and received a copy of David Crystal's book Txtng: The Gr8 Db8. Being the proud owner of an iPhone with two older children, I've done my share of texting with them and others in my circle of friends. While the book does do a good job in examining the pros and cons of texting on our language skills, it was far too academic for my liking. Conversely, if you were teaching a class (or were interested) in linguistics, there'd be a lot in this book that would fascinate you. Guess it all depends on your reason and/or expectations for reading it.

Contents:
The hype about texting; How weird is texting?; What makes texting distinctive?; What do they do it?; Who texts?; What do they text about?; How do other languages do it?; Why all the fuss?; Glossary; Appendix A - English text abbreviations; Appendix B - Text abbreviations in eleven languages; Index

Crystal is a professor of linguistics in the United Kingdom, and he's spent considerable time and effort studying the subject of text messaging. His main argument is with those who decry "text speak" as the death knell of proper writing skills. He reaches the exact opposite conclusion in his opinion. The ability to shorten, abbreviate, and combine sounds to create written communication has been around as long as language itself, and the core skills involved in creating text messages are the same as a person would use for any other written form of communication. The hysteria of those who don't understand it is countered by solid statistics and research provided by Crystal. In fact, there are entire competitions devoted to creating poetry that is restricted to the 140 character limit often imposed on SMS text messages.
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Format: Hardcover
How this for a bit of reflexivity: I'm composing the initial draft of this review on a mobile phone. Admittedly, a full qwerty keyboard-toting BlackBerry and not an old school mobile, so not with the numeric keypad limitations of the usual SMS utilising device but, still, typing-one thumbed while I cling on to a tube strap on an underground carriage with my other hand does put the debate into context.

This is an interesting enough, quick read, but it lets itself down in a couple of presentational respects and also in scope.

Firstly, the title and sale. Already on reviews on this site there is a debate between those who find the book a bit dry and dusty and those who point out it is written by a linguistics professor, so you shouldn't really expect anything else. I suppose composing its title in textspeak was an obvious (if somewhat unimaginative) marketing ploy, but the cheap laugh it gets trades badly against its implied presentation as a book of limited ambition and sophistication - one of those impulse buys at the counter that will wind up on the cistern in the loo, rather than a book you'd buy for its own sake.

As it happens, this is a thoughtful and insightful book written (for the layman - I didn't find it dry in the slightest) by an academic and published by Oxford University Press. But the way OUP has elected to market may cause it to fall betwixt cup and lip.

But - assuming we are meant to treat it as a substantive entry - that leads onto some substantive reservations.
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