Survey Discovers Major Loss of English Words in Favour of Text Speak

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22nd June 2012 13:30 - Education

To mark the launch of a book which tells the story of language called Planet Word, researchers surveyed 2,000 adults on their use of words.

The study found that shortened text message-style terms are replacing the words which our parents and grandparents would have used on an almost daily basis.

Word such as balderdash, felicitations, rambunctious, verily and spiffing are all examples of terms that the text generation would be confounded by.

The survey revealed that despite 83% of those questioned claiming they had a good vocabulary, one in 15 had never used the word drat and half didn’t know what a cad was.

Most admitted they often came across words they didn’t know, with teenagers and those in their twenties experiencing this more frequently than any other age group.

One quarter now use “text speak” such as “lol” and “soz” in verbal conversation as well as in written communication on mobile phones, emails and social media sites.

Author of Planet Word, JP Davidson, commented: “Language is something that is constantly evolving. You only have to look on Twitter to see evidence of the fact that a lot of English words that are used say in Shakespeare’s plays or PG Wodehouse novels - both of them avid inventors of new words - are so little used that people don’t even know what they mean now.”

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