Education

Spelling in the 21st Century

By Bryan Toporek — October 21, 2009 1 min read

A new study from the University of Alberta suggests that the epidemic of “chatspeak” probably does not negatively impact students’ spelling abilities.

The study’s lead author, psychologist Connie Varnhagen, believes that the abbreviated language of text messages and online instant messages should be considered a dialect with proprietary spelling and grammar.

“Young people can compartmentalize their language,” Varnhagen said. “They have language that they use on the playground and then school language. They know how to speak in classrooms without sounding like goofballs.”

Roughly 40 students, aged 12 to 17, were asked to save their instant messages for a week, and then take a standardized spelling test. The researchers discovered that the students seemed to know the “correct” spelling of abbreviated words— for example, students understood that “probably” was abbreviated as “prolly,” and that “shoulda was derived from “should’ve.”

“Kids who are good spellers [academically] are good spellers in instant messaging,” she said. “And kids who are poor spellers in English class are poor spellers in instant messaging.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

Events

Early Childhood Live Online Discussion The Impact of the Coronavirus on Early-Childhood Learning
Join Peter DeWitt and his guests on A Seat at the Table as they discuss the implications of coronavirus on early-childhood learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Teaching Workforce
We discuss the importance of workforce diversity and learn strategies to recruit and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Michigan Data Coach- (MGLVA)
Michigan, United States
K12 Inc.
Program Manager, State Solution Delivery
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Director of Education
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington Public Library
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read