- The Influence of Texting Language on Grammar and Executive Functions in Primary School Children
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 3
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
When sending text messages on their mobile phone to friends, children often use a special type of register, which is called textese. This register allows the omission of words and the use of textisms: instances of non-standard written language such as 4ever (forever). Previous studies have shown that textese has a positive effect on children’s literacy abilities. In addition, it is possible that children’s grammar system is affected by textese as well, as grammar rules are often transgressed in this register. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to investigate whether the use of textese influences children’s grammar performance, and whether this effect is specific to grammar or language in general. Additionally, studies have not yet investigated the influence of textese on children’s cognitive abilities. Consequently, the secondary aim of this study was to find out whether textese affects children’s executive functions. To investigate this, 55 children between 10 and 13 years old were tested on a receptive vocabulary and grammar performance (sentence repetition) task and various tasks measuring executive functioning. In addition, text messages were elicited and the number of omissions and textisms in children’s messages were calculated. Regression
analyses showed that omissions were a significant predictor of children’s grammar performance after various other variables were controlled for: the more words children omitted in their text messages, the better their performance on the grammar task. Although textisms correlated (marginally) significantly with vocabulary, grammar and selective attention scores and omissions marginally significantly with vocabulary scores, no other significant effects were obtained for measures of textese in the regression analyses: neither for the language outcomes, nor for the executive function tasks. Hence, our results show that textese is positively related to children’s grammar performance. On the other hand, use of textese does not affect—positively nor negatively—children’s executive functions.
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