The prolific populariser of linguistics David Crystal strikes again, this time with a readable and informative account of the phenomenon of texting. And what a phenomenon it is: a decade ago, texting was virtually unknown; by 2010 some 2.4 trillion texts will be sent globally.
Crystal argues convincingly that the doom-mongers who say texting is a linguistic disaster have their facts wrong: the majority of texted words are correctly spelt and the playful use of acronyms, vowel-less words, rebuses and logographs all have their roots in older linguistic practice. Txting is full of examples of inventive texting tricks, in English and many other languages around the world. I liked learning that "a3" means "Any time, any place, anywhere", and that the French way of texting "cassette" is "k7". I loved the examples of one-line text poems such as "Basildon: imagine a car park"; "They phone you up, your mum and dad"; and "txt me Ishmael". Crystal's combination of enthusiasm and erudition is persuasive. I'm a convert. Txting is gr8!