Put it this way. Let’s say we discovered through history a group of kids in 16-century France who had the habit of writing notes to each other based on their personal lives. We think oh, what an exciting literate group that must be! And today we give this no respect. So I think kids are reading as much as ever even though they are reading different things and I’m very hesitant to condemn computer reading and writing. It might very well be beneficial.
Female Audience: [Question Inaudible]
Stephen Krashen: Yes. Oh, internet slang. Actually internet slang, since you’re my BFF I can tell you. Internet slang, the only thing that’s really been looked at seriously has been text messaging. That’s been around a little longer. And the studies people said, oh gosh, kids aren’t going to be able to read and write, they’re going to misspell everything and all this stuff. And it turns out, number one, when you look at it, it’s conventionalism. You can’t just make up your own, you can’t just decide this is my abbreviation, you look a little silly. So you got to know when to use lol and all that stuff because it could mean all these different things.
Also, it has no negative effect on writing accuracy. None and this has been a very popular research topic. I think it’s kind of the same attitude people have toward teenage slang in general. They assume it’s going to make things worse. So far it hasn’t been shown to be the case. I think it improves communication. There might be something good going on. I don’t yet know but I suspect there is. Oh, by the way email, coming on email my hypothesis, email should be nearly perfect but not quite. If it’s too perfect it looks insincere. So we have these conventions right?
Male Audience: [Question Inaudible]
Stephen Krashen: Yes, yes, the reason this has not been widely investigated is that it’s very hard to test speech, because you’ve got to record it. And it takes a lot of time, and it’s easy to test writing, it’s right there and we have computer programs that will help you with it et cetera. So there have been very few studies and one of my former students — keep bringing this up every six months. We’ve got to know because she did a study of – it’s her dissertation study of women who read Sweet Valley High novels. This is before Twilight and found a very positive impact. I think Elizabeth should have dumped Jessica a long time ago. That’s my opinion. Anyway they read these teen novels and their everything got better and better and better and she claims their reactions, their comments is their speech got more fluent and their friends said their speech got more fluent. But I don’t know any study that’s used speech as a dependent variable. I’d love to see. So that’ll be your research and please let us know what happens. My suspicion is it’s going to have an impact, and that’s going to be a positive. Of course, you have to do some listening as well. If you take everything else equal, you add reading, that’s going to help. That’s prediction.