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Digitalk as Writing

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Kristen Turner

on 21 February 2014

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Transcript of Digitalk as Writing

Lily: heyyyy (:

Michael: wasz gud B.I.G.?

Lily: nm, chillennn; whatchu up too?

Michael: WatchIn da gam3

Lily: mm, y quien ta jugandoo?

Michael: Yank33s nd naTi0naLs.

Lily: WHAAAATT A JOKEEEEE, dime como yankees lostt againstt them yesterdaii.

Michael: i n0e, th3y suCk.

Lily: & the nationalsss won like only 16 games . . . one of the worst teams homieeegee.

Michael: t3lL m3 b0uT it, i b3T y0u fIv3 d0lLaRs th3Y g00nA l0s3.

Lily: AHA, naw gee thats easy $ for youu ! =p

Michael: lol i waS plAyInG w| y0u. =D

Lily: lol imma talk to you later . . . i got pizzaa awaitinggg meeeee (;

Michael: iight pe3cE

Digital Community of Adolescent Writers
I mean only with my friends do I use these symbols. My mom or my grandmother when texting, they don't understand like all the symbols we use. Cause we already know what it's about, you know?
Individual Markers
D: Like how I would know it was J is he doesn't write S's, he writes 5's.
J: Yeah
k: And only J does that?
D: Yeah, basically.
J: Yep, that's how they know that it's me.
k: And why do you do 5's and not S's?
J: I don't know. Just to have, just to have me there.
Digitalk as Writing
Kristen Hawley Turner
Fordham University

S1: He’s a gangster. Michael is a thug.

K: Why do you think he’s a gangster?

S1: Because. Look how he writes!

K: Well, can you tell me what you mean by that? You’re saying that he’s a gangster because of the way he writes. I want to know why you think he’s a gangster by what he writes.

S1: Because he’s writing in slang language.

K: Show me slang language.

S1: This. That E, that E, the O, that’s a zero. That’s an E. Very different.

S2: And right here: iight.

S3: See how it’s different?

S1: iight is gangster language?

S2: I think right

S3: Yeah. Peace. I don’t use peace no more. Who uses peace?

K: That’s really good evidence for the claim that you’re making he’s a gangster, which is why you give him a tatoo.

Who are Lily and Michael?

Community of Practice
James Gee
Discourse (capital) involves "ways of behaving, interacting, valuing, thinking, believing, speaking, and often reading and writing" (Gee, 2008, p. 3).

"Ways of being in the world" lead to "socially situated identities" (p. 3).

Identity develops from the interactions an individual has within a community - those interactions occur with, through, and because of language.
Digital Natives?

Digitally Savvy?

Digitally Different
Prensky, 2001
Hicks, 2013
I feel that if friends caught me writing proper, they might think something was wrong with me.
Complete Sentence
End Period Not Used (96%)
Non-standard Capitalization (94%)
Acronym (76%)
Question Mark Used
Standard Capitalization
Abbreviation (Cut off End) (71%)
Logograms (Letters for Sounds) (68%)
Apostrophe Not Used (65%)
Fragment (65%)
Lowercase I (63%)
Run-On (63%)
Compound Words (62%)
Multiple Consonants (60%)
End Period Used
Ellipses (54%)
Apostrophe Used
Multiple Vowels (50%)
Conventions of Digitalk
Complete Sentence
End Period Not Used
Non-standard Capitalization
Question Mark Used
Standard Capitalization
Abbreviation (Cut off End)
Logograms (Letters for Sounds)
Apostrophe Not Used
Lowercase I
Compound Words
Multiple Consonants
End Period Used
Apostrophe Used
Multiple Vowels
Evolving Identity
Because you can tell with a texter, how old the texter is. If they do that like they’re pre-teen, but teens, we talk like that, we’d be like getting on each other like "why you sound stupid," like "you don’t go to school or something?"
"Back in middle school"
"Something I did in the past"
Andie: That means he likes someone or the closer you are with them.

Interviewer: The more Ys you put?

Charlie: Yeah like if you like someone, usually the more Ys you put, the more excited you are to talk to them kind of thing.

Interviewer: Yeah I kind of see, wait, you mean “like,” like meaning boy and girl like or meaning like -

Andie: Usually it’s more like, yeah, it’s like if you want to go out with someone, but it can be like a best friend or something like that.

Interviewer: So somebody that you don’t know very well you would -

Charlie: You just put hey.

Andie: Like if you’re -

Charlie: Or even hi.

Interviewer: Oh hi, instead of hey?

Andie: Yeah. A lot of people write like a lot of I’s if you’re excited to talk to someone.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Charlie: I’ve never heard of the I’s but I just know -

Andie: I do that. I know if I’m texting like one of my really good guy friends.

Interviewer: So it’s different if you’re texting a girl or a guy?

Andie: Yeah…. It depends on your relationship with that person. If they’re just a friend, usually it doesn’t matter but if it’s someone you like - I know like I have friends and sometimes I stress over, should I put two Ys or three Ys?

Charlie: So it depends on the person you’re talking to. For example, I have friends who are very nit-picky with grammar. So if I put “hey” or like if I don’t capitalize my I’s or anything, they go OCD [obsessive].

Andie: It depends who’s on the other side of the message.

Ashley: But about the s and z thing, the transformation. Sometimes I say that to sound crazy or funny or something. Like “pizzazzz” “I’m going to go eat some pizzazzz”

Patti: “Pizzazzz” it’s catchy.

Interviewer: Yeah, you said it with, like, all this attitude in your voice.

Ashley: Yeah, attitude. When they write, like I said this before, their attitude, how they feel. Like sometimes if you write schools with the “s,” it’s nothing. But “schoolz” with a z, that’s like more catchy.

Jayla: Cool -

Ashley: Cool, catchy.

Jayla: And they like pay attention. Not like pay attention to you more, but like, well, I can’t explain it.

Interviewer: They notice you?

Jayla: Yeah, they get you.

Short Form

Mid Form

Long Form
Clive Thompson
The Problem
Is it?
“Text-Talk Teens Lack the Right Words for Work” (Griffiths & Gourlay, 2010)
“Thnk ur 2 kewl 2 swtch fm IM mode? B/c ur teachrs r not lol” (Cobbs, 2002)
“Can Txt, Cant Spl: Is Texting Destroying the English Language?”(Jokinen, 2009)
iPodRepairs.net Blog
Teens are writing A LOT! (Pew study, 2008)
“We make a lot of assumptions about the nature of language…. We assume that Standard English is Right with a capital R, and that anything else is improper, bad, incorrect, and fractured” (Wheeler and Swords, 2006).
Not necessarily in Standard English
What is digitalk?
Digitalk is a blend of formal written and informal conversational language that teens use when they write texts, instant messages, and social network posts. Breaks from SWE are purposeful to meet the needs of a community of practice.
Difference not deficit
What conventions do teens use when they write digitally?

Why do they make the linguistic choices they do?
Examined writing from 81 teens
Coded inductively within categories defined by Crystal (orthographic, lexical, grammatical, graphic, discourse)
Surveyed 147
Frequency counts
Coded through inductively developed scheme
Interviewed 32 individually or in groups
Classroom visits
Full transcript