A new study perpetrated on high school students by the University of South Francisco draws some interesting conclusions about students and cell phone use. First of all, there is a direct correlation between being a high school student and using a cell phone. That is, some, if not many, high school students have and use cell phones on a regular1 basis. However, in some regions,2 while high school students are in decline, cell phones are increasing, which suggests that students are turning into cell phones (although the authorities have yet to confirm any particular instances).
The study also analysed correlations among factors such as literacy, grade point averages (GPA), and cell phone use. For instance, while grades, like the number of students, are generally decreasing in most Western schools, literacy is increasing as measured by the average number of text messages sent and received per person, per annum.3
Further, the study estimated that, for every four children born in Wales, 3651 text messages are sent and received, not including the birth announcement itself. The reason for the odd number is that there’s one particular bloke in Wales who never responds to text messages, and not because he can’t figure out where the keyboard is. (He doesn’t have many friends, of course.)
Going back to the topic of literacy: the study also showed that the English language has been enriched several tenfolds by the use of cell phones. Why? There are three key reasons. First, clever apps (like the popular Darles Chickens, by Literate Computer Guys, Ltd.) automatically replace dull, ordinary language with archaic words and expressive phrases from classic English authors like Chaucer, Shelley, and Cervantes.4 So you might start by typing out “Where are you, hon?” and have it replaced by “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”, which both makes you smarter and wins you bonus points with your boyfriend.
Second, what appear to most educators below the PhD level as accidental spelling and grammatical “errors” are found to be, in actuality, an instance of what is technically known as Normal Linguistic Development, and account for loads of new words like “blub” and “discarbobulate.” Among the new grammatical constructions found in cell phone use are phrases like the following:
- Dude, lost shoe.
- Chas Dickens did tabloid serial story before he ever done novel.
- Why might could dread like Cambridge cold real daah?
The first sentence above is an example of Subjective-Possessive Abbreviation, which had been considered extinct in the English language, although it is widely known in Greek, Latin, and some African tribal tongues. The second contains not only an old-fashioned given-name abbreviation, but also Article Anticipation, Singularised Pluralism, and Therapeutic Verb Replacement. We still haven’t figured out what the third one means. (If you have any idea, please send us a telegram.)
And finally, cell phones are enriching the English language by what the researchers see as new and better uses of existing words, not least the increasing number of Engligh-derived software coding languages, which allow computers to communicate with people better, helping people understand and appreciate the Computer-As-Person, a concept long known to Czech readers of Karel Čapek. (Some computer languages even have cool names like “Cocoa,” which just makes you want to eat some chocolate. Doughnuts. With tea.)
- Measured by time within and without classes. ↩
- Specifically named are Canada, Indomocracy, and the island of West Xylophone. ↩
- Fancy Latin word for “year.” Researchers get paid a bonus for every Latin word used in their papers. ↩
- Wait, Cervantes was Spanish. I meant Shakespeare. ↩