generation text

My previous post reminded that I wanted to find a transcript of a great segment on NPR’s “On the Media”. Titled Generation Text it is a short conversation between two (big name) linguists, Geoffrey Nunberg and Naomi Baron. It was interesting because the two have different perspectives on the way younger ppl r writing. Below are two quotes from the show, but be sure to read it all or listen to it all [real audio]

GEOFFREY NUNBERG: The more you write, the better you write. The best way to learn to write is not to learn the rules or take courses. Just sit down and write. To that extent, I think you could argue that the kids who are now doing text messaging and email and, and IMs and so on and so forth, will wind up writing at least as well as and possibly better than their parents or than any generation in history.

NAOMI BARON: We know that children learn to talk because there are some people—we call them adults or older kids—who already know the system, and the younger kids pick up an awful lot of what we model for them. My question is not “Can you have a range of different registers -some informal, some formal, some texting, some essays that you turn in for class”—but “Are we modeling those more formal forms of writing that we used to?” And I don’t think we are so much any more.

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