Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A-txtng U Shall Go! - 2Day's Wednesday Writing Workout

Welcome 2 2day’s Wednesday Writing Workout, a Txtng Mini-lesson of sorts– and – our continuing TeachingAuthors celebration of my new baby board book soon to arrive in stores  everywhere, TXTNG MAMA TXTNG BABY.

Remember: our celebration includes a Book Giveaway of TWO signed copies of this perfect baby gift of a book, so click HERE for the details and be sure to enter by next Tuesday, August 13, 2013. To celebrate the arrival of the book in the warehouse, we've extended the giveaway through August 20, 2013! 
As I wrote in Monday’s post, it is a Techy-Techy World for 2day’s Babies.
But while researching Texting’s history and the gazillion pros and cons that surround this newest means of expression, I was surprised to learn from linguist David Crystal, author of TXTNG The gr8 db8  (Oxford University, 2009) that

(1) texting’s been around a mighty long time and
(2) most popular beliefs about texting are incorrect, or at least, debatable.
“Its graphic distinctiveness is not a totally new phenomenon,” Crystal writes.  “Nor is its use restricted to the young generation.  There is increasing evidence that it helps rather than hinders literacy.  And only a very tiny part of the language uses its distinctive orthography.”

Crystal identifies several distinctive features of texting, many of which suggest novelty but children’s literature proves otherwise.

For instance, logograms, which use “single letters, numerals and typographic symbols to represent words, parts of words, or even – as in the case of x and z – noises associated with actions.”
Think b, 2, @, x for kiss.
And William Steig’s C D B, first published by Simon & Schuster in 1968!

And Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s WUMBERS (Chronicle Books, 2012).
I especially heart Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld’s dedication:
“We dedic8 this book 2 William Steig, the cr8or of CDB! (cer10ly the inspiration for this book) and so many other cla6.”

In logograms, the pronunciation is what matters, not the visual shape.
Think  : )    (smile)
Think : (     (frown)

An initialism is “the reduction of words to their initial letters."
Think NATO and BBC.  (They are often called acronyms.)
But also think BFF, OMG, GF.
And Lauren Myracle’s ttfn.

Other features include omitted letters (bunsn brnr, txtng, msg), nonstandard spellings (cuz, thanx, ya), shortenings (doc, gov, mob) and genuine novelties (IMHO/in my humble opinion).

What gr8 fn I had imagining Mama’s n Baby’s conversation, using a variety of text features 2 cr8 a book which seems to have some very nice (language) company.  

The teacher in me also liked learning the names of Texting's features. 
I hope you did too!
Esther Hershenhorn

              A-txtng U shall go!

Choose any 2 characters – real, imagined, animal, human, and get them talking, or rather, TXTNG (!) on their smart phones and/or tablets.

What’s the situation?
What’s the problem?

What’s the setting?
                                                  What’s the time?

Are your 2 characters Happy? Sad? Confused? Angry? Hopeful?  Plotting? Nasty? Kind?
In other words, know thy characters.

Think about each character's VOICE.
When considering the messages being thumbed on the keyboard, don't forget word choice, expressions, details, imagery, syntax and tone.

Think about your conversation's beginning – the inciting incident of sorts that gets the messages flowing, the middle, the end. 

Remember what dialogue does for a story: i.e.
(1)   informs the reader
(2)  advances the story
(3)  reveals character

And don’t forget to use a variety of available text features!

1 comment:

Carmela Martino said...

Wow, Esther, I learned so much from this post! I didn't know about Stieg's book, or the historic uses of TXTNG. Thanx!