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Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 [Hardcover]

David Crystal
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 4.4 out of 5 stars (17)
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Book Description

5 July 2008 0199544905 978-0199544905
This book takes a long hard look at the text-messaging phenomenon and its effects on literacy, language, and society. Young people who seem to spend much of their time texting sometimes appear unable or unwilling to write much else. Media outrage has ensued. "It is bleak, bald, sad shorthand," writes a commentator in the UK Guardian. "It masks dyslexia, poor spelling, and mental laziness." Exam answers using textese and reports that examiners find them acceptable have led to headlines in the tabloids and leaders in the qualities. Do young people text as much as people think? Do adults? Does texting spell the end of literacy? Is there a panic in the media? David Crystal looks at the evidence. He investigates how texting began and who uses it, why and what for. He shows how to interpret its mix of pictograms, logograms, abbreviations, symbols, and wordplay, and how it works in different languages. He explores the ways similar devices have been used in different eras and discovers that the texting system of conveying sounds and meaning goes back a long way, all the way in fact to the origins of writing - and he concludes that far from hindering literacy, texting may turn out to help it.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (5 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199544905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199544905
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.1 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 638,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years, and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Product Description


He combines an extraordinary knowledge of linguistics with a gift for popularizing. (TLS.)

A highly consumable work of pop linguistics. (Los Angeles Times)

Excellent. Crystal presents a compelling argument in favour of texting as a force for linguistic ability. (Melissa Katsoulis, The Times)

About the Author

David Crystal is honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. He has written or edited over 100 books and published numerous articles for scholarly, professional, and general readerships, in fields ranging from forensic linguistics and ELT to the liturgy and Shakespeare. His many books include Words, Words, Words (OUP 2006) and The Fight for English (OUP 2006).

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tree examined despite the wood. 6 Feb 2009
How this for a bit of reflexivity: I'm composing the initial draft of this review on a mobile phone. Admittedly, a full qwerty keyboard-toting BlackBerry and not an old school mobile, so not with the numeric keypad limitations of the usual SMS utilising device but, still, typing-one thumbed while I cling on to a tube strap on an underground carriage with my other hand does put the debate into context.

This is an interesting enough, quick read, but it lets itself down in a couple of presentational respects and also in scope.

Firstly, the title and sale. Already on reviews on this site there is a debate between those who find the book a bit dry and dusty and those who point out it is written by a linguistics professor, so you shouldn't really expect anything else. I suppose composing its title in textspeak was an obvious (if somewhat unimaginative) marketing ploy, but the cheap laugh it gets trades badly against its implied presentation as a book of limited ambition and sophistication - one of those impulse buys at the counter that will wind up on the cistern in the loo, rather than a book you'd buy for its own sake.

As it happens, this is a thoughtful and insightful book written (for the layman - I didn't find it dry in the slightest) by an academic and published by Oxford University Press. But the way OUP has elected to market may cause it to fall betwixt cup and lip.

But - assuming we are meant to treat it as a substantive entry - that leads onto some substantive reservations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing 23 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a clever man. As always this book is written with a very experienced, open and ever inquiring mind, which is why his books never fail to please.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars c%l bk 10 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
I am one of those people who never got into the whole texting craze, primarily because I hardly ever use my cell phone and I rarely chat with my friends online. Even when I do, I try to write in full sentences and be as clear in my prose as possible. However, I am not beyond ever condescending to the new texting abbreviations, and would occasionally pepper my chats with LOL, ROTFL, and of course ', nor would I begrudge my interlocutors when they do the same. So, I am not someone who gets too flustered with texting as such. It's texting that happens in inappropriate settings that really gets to me. I like to interact with people in various online forums, and when they write whole essays in txt-speak, and I find myself spending more time decoding what they wrote than on the content of their arguments, then I take an exception to this whole business of texting.

I am writing all this in order to give you my overall perspective on texting prior to reading this book. My attitude could be summed up as ambivalent to weary. So I decided to pick up this book and learn more about texting from a professional linguist, someone who has invested a great deal of time to study texting habits and put it in a perspective of language use and development in general. And for the most part, David Crystal does a wonderful job at that. The book is filled with nice and illuminating examples, the parallels to previous changes in our use of language were appropriate and thought provoking. The book does a great job in convincing me that there is really nothing either deviant or inappropriate about how texting came to be. And I was also convinced that people who txt are not ruining the English language nor are they hurting their own writing skills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Texting 14 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hilarious! Well written and humorous with plenty of history of the pre-texting era - makes you think hard and re-evaluate your opinions...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It ws gr8! 10 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David Crystal is a well respected semiotician and this book is perfect for reading for those doom-mongers who are convinced that the SMS is the end of civilisation - as was TV, rock'n'roll and probably even Radio 4 when it first started. Crystal sets SMS in its linguistic historical setting recounting how abbreviations, shortening of words and slang are not new - even that Stratford chappie used to do it! Apart from the solid scholarship the book is written is an accessibly form and gives some wonderful examples of the what txng can do as a literary genre in its own right - see the section on SMS poetry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gr8 13 Feb 2011
I don't text but found this book fascinating. A long admirer of David Crystal this took me along a different route to usual and I am delighted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading for teachers and punters 23 Jan 2011
By D. Izod
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The problem with teaching 'Language and Technology' at A level is that the technology and our interaction with it is changing so fast that there is virtually no established texts that are available for the general reader. Google Scholar is all very well, but it takes hours of searching to find only abstracts of academic papers. So, hats off to Crystal then, who has collated much of the research from the past ten years and synthesised it down into a very readable resource for enjoyable reading and also for giving us teachers something solid to base our lessons on rather than something published six or seven years ago that is now as redundant as a Betamax copy of Jaws.

Crystal is as usual authorative, engaging and here is certainly going out on a limb and offering a coherent and well argued case that texting is an interesting, positive influence on our beautiful language and provides heaps of evidence as to why John Humphrys et al are bleating old has beens who speak from a position of delicious ignorance.

Buy this for fun and buy it so you can shut people up when they start talking rubbish. Oh yes, and as a great teaching aid.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gr8 purchase.
Excellent and objective approach to the texting phenomenon, so much unknown and unexpected ten to fifteen years ago. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. E. Millan
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Very nice and good book which reflects one viewpoint to the modern text language. It helped me do well in my essay.
Published 16 months ago by Littlequan
5.0 out of 5 stars of gr8 interest to everyone who texts or whose children text
I read this book for academic reasons for my job, but found myself personally interested in the phenomena of texting and messaging which is all around us today. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jillian Greenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars 1dful!
Fabulous book: life changing. David Crystal continues to reveal the beauty of language in its Darwinian splendour. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Tamborrada
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop technology
David Crystal, the current Archimandrite of Pop Linguistics, has again come up with the goods. It's reasonably brief and light, however for those studying GCSE Spoken Language or... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2012 by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
It was in mint condition. Great read by D.Crystal and it's even signed by him! Great value for a fiver! Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by Darkblue
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific, but not overly linguistic
David Crystal has once again put together one heck of a page-turner. His new book Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 touches upon nearly everything that has to do with texting. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2009 by Cyril L. Caspar
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