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Jayel Kirby Sue Briggs English 1010 @ 10am October 15, 2013

Oozing With Logos or Ethos? Rhetorical Analysis of David Crystals 2b or Not 2b? When David Crystal, current Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, wrote his essay, 2b or Not 2b, many adults in the over-thirty crowd were becoming worried that the rising generations literary skills were being hi-jacked by the influence of texting. Crystals article was first printed in 2008 in the Guardian, a liberal whistleblowing UK newspaper. It was then published in one of his many (over 100) books, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 (2008). Mr. Crystal referenced accusations made by individuals like John Humphrys that texters were destroying our language, pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary (335). He felt that critics were attacking texting without considering the positive aspects. He listed four reasons why all the popular beliefs about texting are wrong (336-7): textings abbreviated style was not a new idea, it wasnt just for the young, it wasnt going to destroy anyones literary abilities, and it wasnt as overwhelming rampant as it was being made out to be. As a member of the over-thirty crowd for well over a decade now, I found Crystals essay to be overwhelmingly convincing. He artistically incorporated so much logic - the paper was oozing with gobs of it - that I often confused his use of logos for credibility (or was it the other way around?).

For instance, one of the first things that I noticed in 2b or Not 2b, was Crystals rhetorical decision to include a variety of global locations in his references to texting use throughout his piece. If texting language is used not only by T-Mobile in the UK, but also by Japanese authors, a mobile literature channel in China, a published Finnish writer, and a French novelist, then how can it be assumed that texting abbreviations are devious habits of lazy American teenagers? It wouldnt make any sense to believe that. Therefore, by inserting global credibility, he cunningly engendered logos! David Crystals appeal to common sense did not stop there. He also gave his piece credibility by tucking in elusions to literary forms that have endured the test of time. For instance, he explains that the use of single letters, numerals, and symbols to represent words or parts of words, as with b b and 2 to are called rebuses, and they go back centuries (338). He craftily smuggled in other literary norms such as haikus, englyns, maxims, proverbs, novels, and poets with their poetic classics. Although Crystals application to reason was amply effective with his emphasis of texting universality, I believe that his point was most powerful when he disclosed the findings of a study done by a team at Coventry University near the conclusion of his piece. He reported that the research found evidence that there were definite links between text language usage and literary ability in pre-teenaged students. The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary, Crystal announced. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the most textisms (345). Though a skeptic reader may wonder how this could hold true, Crystal explained that when children play with language, they find it enjoyable. And of course reason follows, that when a student finds a subject enjoyable, they return to it often, practicing such skills repeatedly, and thereby tending to excel in that field.

By providing such compelling information denoting a texting-active childs improved literary skills, Crystal also utilized the opportunity for playing on emotions. Though it may be a technique that has been used repeatedly for centuries, claiming that something is good for the children still works. Such use of pathos is especially evident when Crystal mentioned the story of how Stuart Campbell was convicted of murdering his young teenaged niece. When the unique mode of texting language used by the victim wasnt matched by the style forged by the suspect, Campbell was found guilty. While Crystal uses this narrative to point out that texting, prone to idiosyncrasy, turns out to be an advantage in such a context (340), I found it to also be a brilliant nest for poignancy. While I enjoyed how Crystal imbedded his generally academic piece with informal snippets such as Bad textiquette (337) and In short, its fun (341), I also found it to be a tad lengthy. Honestly, I grew tired of reading him. Perhaps he jabbered on intentionally, hoping to suggest to the readers subconscious mind that abbreviated communication has its merits. Regardless, I tend to think it wasnt necessary to ooze with quite so many gobs of information. It wasnt necessary to pad the pages with riddles such as YY U R U B I C U R YY 4 ME (338), which tended to slow the reading experience down a bit too much. And the essay definitely could have done without zen & T @ f m2 cycl mn10nc, since after looking over it several times, I still couldnt make out what the heck it was supposed to say. Overlooking these trivial details wasnt too difficult, though, since Crystal picked up speed with consistent appeals to reason, which in turn created an impressive amount of ethos. Or I could turn it around and say that his use of credibility just made his points make sense. Either

way, his reasonable believability worked for me; I found him to be more than adequately convincing. With the rapid rate at which technology is evolving, Crystals piece is still timely five years later, if not more so. As a forty-five year old grandmother, I have increased my texting by leaps and bounds since 2008. And I know for a fact that my peers have, too. If David Crystals claims are true, it can be reassuring to know that when our teens text saying, im dun, and we respond with omw (on my way), we could actually be helping to improve their literary skills.