Only On 6: Text Talk

Their sentences run on and on without a trace of punctuation or capitalization.

"It can be anything from not capitalizing an I when you're talking about the pronoun," said English teacher Jessica Russell. "And also the letter R instead of A.R.E. The letter U for Y.O.U. Anything like that, I see it all the time."

And then there are the L-O-L's and O-M-G's!

"I actually see this in formal final copies. You'll see IDK's, you'll see B/C's, you'll see LOL when they want to stress the fact that it's funny, they will put LOL," said Jonathon Brady, who teaches English as well. "If they want to make sure that they want you to be happy, they'll put a colon and a parenthesis."

Sounds like a text from one of your kids, doesn't it? Now imagine having to grade school assignments that are riddled with this so-called "text speak"

Student Cathyrn Johnson says she has trouble with text talk. "I do it in my English papers all the time. LOL and ROTL and stuff. I usually didn't notice. It's usually when we're grading them that they are like, Cat, you did this wrong!"

"I see it every day, on any assignment, whether it's just a quick classroom assignment, to what I call a published essay," said Russell.

Cathryn Johnson admits it's hard to keep text speak from creeping into her school work, but she's not the only one.

Her friend Ceylna Bradford said, "When I'm writing, I'll think in my head, I won't write it down, but I always think in my head, there will be times when I scribble it down and then have to erase it, and put quotations on LOL instead of like the real deal. So it always messes me up."

Jonathon Brady and Jessica Russell both teach English and McNeil Junior High, and they both take off points if they see 'text speak.'

From day one, Jessica Russell shows students what she will be looking for.

"I have a lesson that I teach where we translate texts. I'll have the students write a message to one of their friends in text language. Then they pass it to the person behind them and they have to edit that text message in formal language."

She says 'text speak' is a shift in our culture that's happening whether we like it or not.

"When we talk about a semi-colon, they're like, I don't know what that is, someone will say, 'you know, it's the winky face,' and that's how they know what punctuation is. It's seeping into our culture, and it's our job to make sure that they know the difference."

Both teachers warn students that those seemingly innocent slips could affect them in the real world.

"I talk to the kids about, I know they are smart, but they make those mistakes, and I want them to always look smart," Russell said. "They're writing needs to be a reflection of who they are, because we do judge people."

"That's what I tell them, this will affect your money some day. If you do college applications, or resumes or even if you're sending business emails, they aren't going to want to business with you if you don't know how to write," said Brady. "They're going to choose the person who sounds more professional, who can speak and write correctly. And that's just the way of the world. We live in a very competitive society, they're going to choose the one that at least sounds the best. It's presentation. And if they don't know how to present, they're not going to get it."

Eric Crosslin - Newschannel 6