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IM Actually Makes Teens More Innovative Linguistically

So apparently parents need to chill out. A new study from the University of Toronto appearing in New Scientist finds that online shorthand isn’t harming teenagers’ language skills. It actually represents “an expansive new linguistic renaissance”.

Basically, the researchers argue that with IM kids are creating a hybrid, combining written and spoken language in a creative way that doesn’t make written language less meaningful.

Oh and apparently teens aren’t whacking words down as much as we think. The use of abbreviations such as LOL, OMG and TTYL made up just 2.4 per cent of 250,000 words written by the 72 people between the ages of 15 and 20 that the researchers followed.

Ok, so fair enough. But isn’t the bigger question how IM affects writing and speaking in other contexts? What I would like to know is whether writing or drawing with pens and pencils changes the wiring in our heads in significant ways?

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